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At least 15 killed in US drone strikes in Khyber

December 17, 2010

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The Foreign Office has repeatedly said there is no justification for the drone strikes, describing them as “counter-productive” and a violation of the country’s sovereignty. — Photo by AFP

PESHAWAR: Two US drone attacks killed at least 15 people Friday in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region, Pakistani intelligence and government officials said.

The strikes took place in two villages in the Tirah Valley in the tribal area, the officials said. The same valley was hit late Thursday in another US attack.

The two intelligence and two government officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Most of the more than 100 missile attacks this year inside Pakistan have taken place in North Waziristan, a tribal area allegedly under the control of militant groups.

Pakistani officials protest the strikes, but are believed to have secretly authorised at least some of them. Analysts also say targeting information for many of the attacks is likely to be provided by Pakistani intelligence officials.

The missiles, fired from unmanned drones, hit houses in the villages of Speen Drang and Shandana, the officials said. It was unclear exactly how many people were killed in each respective village.

The missile attacks have been credited with killing many top militants, but have stirred anger in Pakistan.

The frequency of the attacks has more than doubled this year compared to last.