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US drones strike in Pakistan again, 15 killed

February 16, 2009 17:30 IST

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In the second major strike in the last four days, American drones on Monday targeted a Taliban [Images] hideout in Pakistan's restive Kurram tribal region, killing at least 15 people and wounding several others.

The drone fired two missiles at the hideout, where a meeting of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan was being held, TV channels reported. There was no official word on the incident.

Though US drones target Taliban and Al Qaeda [Images] bases in Waziristan region, this was the first such attack in Kurram Agency. Minutes after the strike, Taliban militants surrounded the area and prevented locals from approaching the scene of attacks.

The missile strike came two days after a US drone attack in South Waziristan tribal region killed 32 people, most of them Uzbek supporters of Al Qaeda. Kurram Agency has also been a scene of widespread sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni tribesmen since last year.

Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between rival tribesmen. The situation in Kurrum Agency took a turn for the worse after Taliban fighters infiltrated the area and began backing the Sunnis.

Pakistan's tribal areas have witnessed a wave of missile attacks by United States' drones believed to be operating from Afghanistan. Several top Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives have been killed in these strikes.

The casualties have sparked an angry reaction from the Pakistan government, which says the missile strikes are counterproductive for the war on terror and a violation of the country's sovereignty.

The government had also been hoping that the administration of new US President Barack Obama [Images] would halt the missile strikes.

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