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US drone strike kills two in NW Pakistan

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: A US drone strike on a compound killed at least two suspected insurgents in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border on Friday, officials said.
The strike took place in the Anghar area, 10 kilometerssouth of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal region, a stronghold for Taleban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.
“A US drone fired two missiles on a militant compound, killing two suspected militants and wounding two others,” a senior security official told AFP.
Another security official also confirmed the attack and casualties that took place after midnight (1900 Thursday GMT).
The identities of those killed in the strike were not immediately known but they appeared to be of Central Asian origin, the official said.
A third security official in Miranshah said two Taleban fighters were wounded in the fresh attack and were identified as “Punjabi Taleban,” from Pakistan’s central Punjab province.
“One of them, Aslam alias Yaseen, is linked with attacks on Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and another attack on (the) naval base in Karachi,” the security official told AFP.
In May 2011, a group of heavily armed militants besieged Pakistan’s naval air base in Karachi, destroying two US-made P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, an attack that took 17 hours to repel and left 10 military personnel dead.
That assault deeply embarrassed the military, coming three weeks after US special forces killed Osama Bin Laden under their noses in a garrison town, and was the deadliest on a base since the army headquarters was attacked in October 2009.
Last week a US drone attack on a seminary linked to the feared Haqqani militant network in Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest killed at least six people.
The attack, which militant sources said killed the Haqqanis’ spiritual leader along with five others, was extremely unusual in that it was mounted outside Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border.
North Waziristan is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions which Washington considers to be a major hub of Taleban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.
The government criticizes drone strikes as a violation of sovereignty and counterproductive to anti-terror efforts. But ties with Washington have nevertheless improved this year after lurching from crisis to crisis in 2011 and 2012.

Last month the US announced it would release $1.6 billion in aid and Washington’s support was seen as important in Pakistan securing a $6.7 billion rescue loan from the International Monetary Fund in September.