Suspected U.S. missile strike kills two in Pakistan

Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:06pm EST

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone aircraft fired a missile into a house in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Monday, killing two people, Pakistani security agency officials said.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan, frustrated by a spreading Taliban insurgency that is getting support from militant enclaves in northwest Pakistan, have stepped up strikes by pilotless drones despite Pakistani objections.

There was no immediate information about the identity of the two people killed in the strike in the village of Tabi, 5 km (3 miles) east of the region's main town of Miranshah, the two security agency officials said.

North Waziristan is a known al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold.

U.S. forces have carried out nearly 30 air strikes in Pakistan this year, according to a Reuters tally, more than half of them since the beginning of September.

The attacks have killed more than 220 people, including foreign militants, according to reports from Pakistani intelligence agents, district government officials and residents.

The United States and Afghanistan have long pressed Pakistan to do more to eliminate the militant sanctuaries in remote ethnic Pashtun areas that no government has ever controlled.

Pakistan, under fresh international pressure to eliminate militants after last month's assault on the Indian city of Mumbai, says the U.S. strikes violate its sovereignty and undermine efforts to fight militancy by inflaming public anger.

India has blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group it says was set up by Pakistan to fight Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region, for the Mumbai attacks.

(Reporting by Alamgir Bitani; Editing by Robert Birsel and Michael Roddy)



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