Two US drone strikes kill seven militants in Pakistan

Reuters , Friday 26 Dec 2014

Two suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at militant hideouts in northwest Pakistan on Friday killing at least seven fighters, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The attacks took place in the same area where the Pakistani army has been mounting an air-and-ground operation against Pakistani Taliban insurgents who are fighting against the government in order to set up a Sharia state in Pakistan.

Areas along Pakistan's porous border with Afghanistan are home to a range of domestic and foreign militants and the authorities have been under pressure to do more to eliminate the insurgents who cross into Afghanistan and stage attacks there.

Pakistani Taliban are based on both sides of the border.

On Friday, intelligence official said both of the latest air strikes took place in Pakistan's remote North Waziristan region targeting Uzbek and Punjabi Taliban hideouts.

Pakistan has stepped up operations against the Taliban in response to a Dec. 16 school massacre in which more than 130 children were killed, but details of its efforts are sketchy as independent journalists are not allowed in North Waziristan.

US drone strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan and the government is officially against them, even though many senior Pakistani Taliban commanders have been killed in such attacks in past years. U.S. officials almost never publicly comment on its drone policy in Pakistan.

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