South Asia

Suspected US drone 'kills two militants' in Pakistan

Map of federally administered tribal areas

A US drone attack has killed at least two suspected militants in north-west Pakistan, intelligence officials say.

The men were travelling in a vehicle in the Esokhel area of North Waziristan when the drone fired two missiles.

Officials say the dead included Hafeezullah, a commander of the Haqqani militant network in the area, and a foreigner. The vehicle was completely destroyed.

North and South Waziristan are regularly targeted by drone missiles.

The US says the region provides sanctuary to al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents who are involved in attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Last month, a drone attack killed at least 21 militants in North Waziristan. Among the dead were several foreigners believed to be part of the Haqqani network.

Drone attacks have escalated in the region since President Barack Obama took office in 2008. More than 100 raids were reported in the area last year.

The US does not routinely confirm drone operations, but analysts say only American forces have the capacity to deploy such aircraft in the region.

Pakistan publicly criticises drone attacks, saying they fuel support for militants. But observers say the authorities privately condone the strikes, although there have been recent signs that they want to limit the scope of such attacks.

A number of militants, some of them senior, have been killed in the raids, but many civilians have also died.

More on this story