“A US drone fired two missiles at a militant compound, killing three militants and injuring two others,” a Pakistani security official said. –Photo by Reuters

MIRANSHAH: A US missile attack killed at least three militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal district on Wednesday, security officials said.

Missiles struck a compound at Haiderkhel village, some 25 kilometers east of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, three security officials said.

“A US drone fired two missiles at a militant compound. At least three militants were killed and two others were injured,” a senior Pakistani security official told AFP.

The identities of the dead militants were not immediately clear, but local intelligence officials said they were “foreigners”, a term used for Taliban and al Qaeda linked non-Pakistani Arab and Central Asian militants.

“They were foreigners,” an intelligence official told AFP, adding they were checking on the nationalities.

The area is a stronghold of Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

Washington says wiping out the militant threat in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt is vital to winning the nine-year war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and defeating al Qaeda.

Militant networks in North Waziristan are accused of escalating the nine-year war in Afghanistan and US officials want Pakistan to launch a ground offensive in the district to limit the extremist threat.

The United States does not confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the unmanned aircraft in the region.

In 2010 the campaign doubled missile attacks in the tribal area with around 100 drone strikes killing more than 650 people, according to an AFP tally.

Pakistan tacitly cooperates with the bombing campaign, which US officials say has severely weakened al Qaeda’s leadership, but has stalled on launching a ground offensive in North Waziristan, saying its troops are overstretched.