US drone strike kills 3 militants in Pakistan

Islamabad: At least three suspected militants were killed when a US drone targeted a car in Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal region today, officials said.

The drone fired missiles at the car in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan Agency. Three persons in the vehicle were killed instantly, officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels.

Drones continued hovering over the area after the strike, causing tensions among local residents.

This was the first US drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt since violent protests erupted across the country against the anti-Islam film “Innocence Of Muslims”.

The Datta Khel area has witnessed numerous drone strikes in the past few years. Afghan and US officials describe North Waziristan as a safe haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban elements, including the Haqqani network.

The US has continued its drone campaign in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan despite strong protests from Pakistan. During a meeting with US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman on September 15, President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated Pakistan’s call for an end to drone attacks.

Zardari described the use of drones as counter-productive in the fight against militancy and in the “battle of winning hearts”. He said Pakistan and the US need to find alternatives to drones.