The drone strike occurred in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region. — Photo by AFP

MIR ALI: A local Taliban commander and two foreign militants were among nine people killed by a suspected US missile strike near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said Monday.

Sunday's strike against a house in the North Waziristan tribal area was part of the Obama administration's campaign to use drones to target militants who regularly stage cross-border attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistani intelligence officials initially said the attack in Khaddi village killed six people but raised that number to nine on Monday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The slain insurgent leader was identified only as Mustafa. The officials said he was linked to Sadiq Noor, a key Taliban figure in North Waziristan.

The nationalities of the foreign fighters were unclear.

Pakistan's border region is considered a magnet for militants seeking to fight Nato forces in Afghanistan or train for terrorist attacks.

Three local tribesmen sheltering the militants were identified Sunday as among the dead.

Unmanned American drones have launched more than 100 missile strikes this year on targets in Pakistan, roughly double the number in all of 2009. The US refuses publicly to acknowledge the covert CIA attacks, but officials have said privately that they have killed several senior al Qaeda and Taliban commanders over the years.

Almost all of this year's strikes have occurred in North Waziristan, an area in which the US has repeatedly requested Pakistan conduct a military offensive to neutralise the strongholds of insurgents threatening the war effort in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has resisted, saying its military is already stretched thin by operations being conducted elsewhere.

Many analysts suspect, however, that Pakistan doesn't want to cross Taliban militants with whom it has historical ties and could be useful allies in Afghanistan after foreign troops withdraw.

The US recently sought to expand the areas in which the drones can target Taliban and al Qaeda operatives, but Pakistan refused the request because of domestic opposition to the missile strikes, a Pakistani official said over the weekend.

He was responding to a Washington Post report that the US had sought permission to use the drones — now limited to the northwestern border region — in areas around Quetta, the capital of the southwestern province of Balochistan.

Pakistani officials often criticise the US drone strikes, calling them a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Opinion

Climate & youth

Climate & youth

Disillusionment and anxiety are on the rise among youth as they confront the diminishing prospects of a better tomorrow.
Our exclusivity syndrome
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Our exclusivity syndrome

Pakistan needs at least a minimum level of inclusivity that can keep alive democratic values.
Shafqat Kakakhel
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Shafqat Kakakhel

COP26 has to achieve consensus on several issues.

Editorial

Carnage in Kandahar
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Carnage in Kandahar

Pakistan’s anti-extremism policy is in many ways half-baked and inconsistent.
17 Oct 2021

Sanctity of contracts

PAKISTAN is facing yet another international dispute before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment...
17 Oct 2021

New sports policy

THIS week, the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee chief Haroon Malik was in Zurich to hold ...
Diminishing freedom
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Diminishing freedom

DESPITE the serious reservations of digital rights activists and tech companies, the federal government has...
16 Oct 2021

Dirty politics

IN her outburst against Prime Minister Imran Khan this week, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz may not have taken names but...
16 Oct 2021

Decreasing emissions

THE announcement by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam that carbon emissions in the country came down by 9pc...