US drone strike kills four people in northwest Pakistan
An aerial attack by a US drone has killed at least four people in northwest Pakistan, security officials say.
The deadly attack took place on Sunday, when two missiles fired by the US assassination drone hit a house in the Shawal Valley in the restive North Waziristan region close to the border with Afghanistan, Pakistan’s security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
The Pakistani officials added that the victims were suspected pro-Taliban militants.
The Sunday attack came after the Pakistani army pushed the pro-Taliban militants out of the major towns and cities in the region as part of an offensive that began last June.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, which tracks the US strikes using media reports, said the strike in Sunday was the seventh US drone strike in Pakistan in 2015. The group added that the US drones conducted as many as 25 airstrikes on Pakistani soil in 2014.
According to figures presented in a report by Pakistani lawmakers, 2,199 people have been killed and 282 others injured in the US drone attacks in Pakistan over the past decade.
Nearly 210 houses and 60 vehicles were also reportedly damaged. However, rights activists say Islamabad has not revealed the actual number of the deaths, which many say is more than 3,000 and possibly as many as 4,000.
“The majority of the people who got killed were the citizens of Pakistan and I don’t think that this [figure] is a final truth. There are still numbers that are out there and I hope those numbers also come out and that will push this number of 2,200 to a much higher numerical level,” political analyst Tariq Pirzada told Press TV.
The Pakistani government has been criticized for allowing the US to carry out illegal drone strikes near the country’s border with Afghanistan.
The aerial attacks, initiated by former US President George W. Bush in 2004, have been escalated under President Barack Obama. Obama has defended the use of the controversial drones as “self-defense.”
Washington claims the targets of the drone attacks are militants. People on the ground, however, dispute the claim, saying civilians are usually the victims of the attacks.
The United Nations and several human rights organizations have identified the US as the world’s number-one user of “targeted killings,” largely due to its drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.