US intensifies drone strikes in Pakistan, fifteen killed
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan - Agence France-PresseA U.S. drone strike killed 15 militants in Pakistan’s Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold of North Waziristan yesterday, the third drone strike in three days and the deadliest this year, officials said.
Pakistani officials said two missiles slammed into a compound in the village of Hesokhel, east of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, before dawn. The attack looked set to inflame tensions with Islamabad ahead of a visit by a U.S. assistant defense secretary, Peter Lavoy, on a mission to persuade Pakistan to end a six-month blockade on NATO supplies crossing into Afghanistan.
The attack comes amid an upsurge in drone strikes in Pakistan since a NATO conference on Afghanistan in Chicago last month. Eight U.S. drone strikes have been reported since May’s Chicago summit, which failed to secure a deal on resuming the supply lines.
Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.