Just a day after first Nato trucks crossed the border into Afgha-nistan after a seven-month shutdown, a triple US drone attack on a compound in North Waziristan killed at least 24 suspected militants late Friday.
The strike destroyed the home, with six missiles being fired at it.
Officials were quick to label everyone slain as “suspects” and said that four of the people in the house were believed to be “foreigners.” The strike sparked panic across the area, and as usual none of the victims have been named.
The strike took place near Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan Agency.
Three unmanned aircraft fired a total of six missiles on Datta Khel village, some 35 kilometres east of Miranshah.
The initial strike on a house killed 13 people, five more were killed in a second attack when they drove to the site to recover dead bodies, and a third drone killed six more five minutes later, an official in Peshawar said.
The death toll from the strikes in Dattakhel in North Waziristan could rise, the officials said.
Two security officials in Miranshah confirmed all the three strikes but told AFP that at least 20 militants have been killed, and one said the militants had gathered to send fighters into Afghanistan.
According to Pakistani Nation News Agency the Dattakhel area is considered to be a stronghold of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a Taliban commander who is accused of sending fighters across the border to fight NATO troops in Afghanistan. A similar drone attack on Sunday killed eight of Bahadur’s fighters
It reopened after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally agreed to apologize for the killings and Pakistan might have been received huge sums from US.
US drone strikes against Pakistan have been hugely controversial, and the Pakistani parliament has demanded their end, calling on the cabinet to condition reopening the border on the end of the strikes. Despite this call, the border remains open.
Islamabad says they violate its sovereignty and also cause civilian casualties. Washington has refused, and US officials say the drone strikes are an effective tool in combating militants.
Drone attacks are highly unpopular in Pakistan, where they are seen as an infringement of the country’s sovereignty and counter-productive in the fight against extremists.