Fifteen Afghan militants killed in missile strike

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The Independent Online

A suspected US missile strike destroyed a home and a speeding vehicle carrying insurgents near the Afghan border early today, killing at least 15 alleged militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The attack happened in the Bangi Dar village of North Waziristan, a tribal region which is a base for insurgents responsible for many of the attacks on US and Nato forces just across the border in Afghanistan.

At least four missiles were fired, two at the mud-brick house and two at the vehicle. Four of those killed were in the vehicle while at least 11 died in the flattened home.

The victims' identities were not known, and agents were trying to get more details, said the officials.

North Waziristan has been the target of nearly all of the US missile strikes in Pakistan this year - a total of around 100 and a major increase on previous years.

US authorities want Pakistan to launch a military offensive in the region, but Islamabad has resisted, saying it has its hands full with army operations against insurgents elsewhere in the north-west.

The Pakistani government publicly denounces the drone-fired missile attacks. It has asked Washington to transfer the technology to Islamabad so that the Pakistani army could launch such strikes on its own.