Alleged US missiles kill four in Pakistan

Suspected US missiles targeted a vehicle today in northwestern Pakistan, killing four alleged militants, intelligence officials said. It was the 17th such attack this month — the most intense barrage since the airstrikes began in 2004.

Shortly before the attack, the vehicle left a militant hide-out in Datta Khel, a town in the North Waziristan tribal area that is controlled by insurgents focused on attacking NATO troops in Afghanistan, the two intelligence officials said.



It is not clear exactly why the attacks have spiked, but most of this month's strikes have targeted forces led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a commander who was once supported by Pakistan and the US during the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.



Haqqani has since turned against the US, and American military officials have said his network — now effectively led by his son, Sirajuddin — presents one of the greatest threats to foreign forces in Afghanistan. Another militant commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, and his forces also hold sway in North Waziristan.



The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk on the record to the media.



Washington wants Islamabad to launch an army offensive against insurgents in North Waziristan. Analysts believe Pakistan is resisting because it wants to maintain its historic relationship with the groups, which could be an ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw. Without a Pakistani offensive, the US has had to rely on CIA-operated drone strikes to target the Haqqani network, which also has bases in eastern Afghanistan.



The 17 missile strikes this month have killed nearly 85 people since Sept. 2, according to an Associated Press tally based on Pakistani intelligence reports. Most have struck in and around Datta Khel, which has a population of about 40,000 people and is on a strategically vital road to the Afghan border.



US officials do not publicly acknowledge the missile strikes but have said privately they have killed several senior Taliban and al-Qa'ida militants in the region that is largely out of the control of the Pakistani state.



Pakistan often criticizes the attacks as violations of the country's sovereignty, but the government is widely believed to help the US carry out the strikes. Criticism of the strikes has been more muted in recent months.



The latest strike occurred some hours after gunmen killed two worshippers in a central Pakistani city.



Police official Babar Bakhat Qureshi said seven others were wounded in the Sunni Muslim mosque in the city of Bahawalpur, a stronghold of a Pakistani militant group. The motive was not immediately clear, he added.



Pakistan has a history of sectarian violence often involving Sunni extremists targeting minority Shiite Muslims. But attacks on Sunni mosques also occur.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living