Asia Crisis

Suspected U.S. drone fires missiles in Pakistan

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Jan 2 (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles on Friday in Pakistan's South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, but there was no word on casualties, a Pakistani intelligence source and a resident said.

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

"Two missiles have been fired in Maidan Narai but we don't have any details," said Haji Mohammad, an ethnic Pashtun tribal leader, referring to a remote village.

An intelligence agency official confirmed the strike in an area regarded as a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

It was the second in South Waziristan in as many days.

A suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles on Thursday into another part of South Waziristan, near the region's main town of Wana, killing three foreign militants and wounding one, two intelligence agents said.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan carried out about 30 missile strikes in Pakistan in 2008, according to a Reuters tally, more than half since the beginning of September.

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

Pakistan, under mounting international pressure to eliminate militants after November's attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai, says the U.S. strikes violate its sovereignty and undermine efforts to fight militancy by inflaming public anger. (Reporting by Alamgir Bitani; Editing by Robert Birsel and Sanjeev Miglani)