DAWN, NEWS PAKISTAN, PAKISTAN TODAY (Pakistan), WASHINGTON POST (U.S.), REUTERS
MIRAMSHAH - At least seven people were killed in a reported U.S. drone attack early Wednesday in northeastern Pakistan. The drone fired two missiles at a mud-built house in the tribal region of North Waziristan, which is considered a bastion of Taliban and al-Qaeda linked militants, says Pakistan Today.
No information is yet available about the identity of the victims. according to News Pakistan,
This attack comes at a sensitive moment, as Pakistan’s newly elected government prepares to take office amid growing debate both there and in the United States about the CIA-operated drone program, writes the Washington Post.
Dawn reports that incoming prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who will take power in the coming days, has deemed the drone strikes a "challenge" to Pakistan’s sovereignty, saying Washington must take Pakistani concerns seriously.
A Pakistani Foreign Ministry official condemned all such strikes."Any drone strike is against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan and we condemn it," the official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
Last Thursday, President Obama, in his most expansive public discussion on drones, defended their targeted killings as both effective and legal. Ahead of the address, writes Dawn, Obama signed new ”presidential policy guidelines” aimed at illustrating more clearly to Congress and the public the standards the US applies before carrying out drone attacks.
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended drone strikes during his visit to Ethiopia on Sunday. “The only people we fire at are confirmed terror targets, at the highest level. We don’t just fire a drone at somebody we think is a terrorist,” he said, adding that strikes are ruled out if there could be collateral damage.
The United States was recently identified in a U.N. report as the world’s No. 1 user of targeted killings, according to News Pakistan, mainly because of its reliance on drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.