Asia Crisis

US Drone strike kills 20 people in Pakistan

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MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Missiles fired from a U.S. pilotless drone aircraft killed 13 militants and 7 civilians in Pakistan's North Waziristan on Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

They said the missiles were fired at a militant hideout. Most of the militants killed were members of the Afghan Taliban. Four women and three children were among the dead, said the officials.

"The missiles hit a militant compound and a house adjacent to it. We have confirmed reports of 20 dead," said one of the intelligence officials.

Another official said members of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network -- one of the most effective militant forces fighting Western troops in Afghanistan -- had been using the compound.

The United States has been pressing ally Pakistan to crack down hard on Afghan Taliban militants who cross the border to Afghanistan to attack U.S.-led NATO forces.

U.S. officials say the drones are a highly effective weapon against militant groups. But civilian casualties in the strikes have angered Pakistanis. (Reporting by Haji Mujtaba and Kamran Haider) (Writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Ralph Boulton)