South Asia

Pakistan: US drone strikes kill 15

Map of federally administered tribal areas

Two US drone missile attacks have killed at least 15 people in the Pakistani tribal region bordering Afghanistan, officials say.

Twelve people were killed when a drone fired two missiles at a compound used by suspected militants in North Waziristan on Monday night, they added.

Earlier on Monday, another drone fired two missiles at a vehicle in North Waziristan, killing three people.

North Waziristan has been targeted by drone strikes for months.

The US says the region is home to several militant groups involved in attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan.

On Monday night, drone missiles targeted a compound at the foot of a hill in the thickly-forested Mantoi area, some 40km (24 miles) north-west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

The compound was being used by local militants affiliated with Hakimullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e Taliban group, officials said.

Earlier, three people were killed and two others injured when a drone fired two missiles at a vehicle which was travelling into Afghanistan in the Shawal region of North Waziristan.

Wazir tribespeople inhabit both sides of the border here and frequently move across the border.

But officials told BBC that those killed in the strike were militants. It is not clear which group they belonged to.

Drone attacks have focused on North and South Waziristan, where US officials believe many al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters find shelter.

Pakistan publicly criticises drone attacks, saying they fuel support for militants. But observers say the authorities privately condone the strikes.

The American military does not routinely confirm drone operations, but analysts say the US is the only force capable of deploying such aircraft in the region.