At least four suspected militants were killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan's Paktia province near the Pak-Afghan border on Thursday.
Security sources told DawnNews that a suspected United States (US) drone fired two missiles targeting alleged militant hideouts in the area, killing four 'militants'.
This is the second drone strike in Paktia this week. At least six suspected Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militants were killed in an earlier strike, with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar chief Umar Khalid Khorasani reportedly injured in the assault. Khorasani was evacuated following the strike and unconfirmed reports claim he is dead.
The recent unprecedented increase drone strikes in the Pak-Afghan border region appears to be reflective of a change in policy in Washington, with at least 70 strikes ─ both drone and ground ─ conducted in Afghanistan in the past three weeks, and over 30 people killed in strikes near the border in the last few days.
The Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and ISPR, the army's media wing, had both claimed that the strikes had been carried out in Afghan territory and Pakistan's airspace had not been violated, amid speculation that the strikes had targeted militants inside Pakistani territory.
The drone strikes near the Pak-Afghan border have increased after the Pakistan Army said that it had recovered "safe and sound" a family of foreign hostages from the custody of a terrorist outfit after it received and acted on intelligence shared by the United States.
The army had hailed the recovery of the abductees as an example of what can be expected from close cooperation between the US and Pakistan in targeting militant outfits.
It is as yet unclear what impact, if any, the drone strikes will have on the push to revive amicable relations with the US.