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US drones target militants in Pakistan

US drones are suspected in an attack on militants in Pakistan.

NATO truck
Pakistani onlookers watch a burning NATO oil tanker on a road in Katakasht village near the town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district on Dec. 20, 2010. Taliban militants in northwest Pakistan attacked NATO oil supply trucks with rockets and assault rifles Dec. 20, destroying two vehicles, officials said. (Waheed Afridi/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. drones are suspected in strikes targeting alleged militants in Pakistan's tribal region near the border with Afghanistan on Monday. Reports on how many were killed in the attacks varied from 18 to 25.

U.S. drones are suspected in strikes in Pakistan's tribal region that killed 18 alleged militants Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials were quoted as saying.

The reported attacks in North Waziristan are the latest in an unprecedented number of strikes from drone aircraft flying over Pakistani soil.

They come a week after an official review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan was released that indicated that the Afghanistan war could not be won unless Pakistan rooted out militants on its side of the border, reflecting the concerns of military commanders that insurgents freely cross from Pakistan into Afghanistan to fight U.S. troops before fleeing back across the border.

In one of the attacks Monday, a suspected drone reportedly fired four missiles on a vehicle in the Mir Ali area of the district, killing six suspected militants.

In the second attack, two missiles were reportedly fired at a militant hideout in the same district, killing 12.

At least 110 such missile strikes were launched 2010 — more than doubling the 2009 total. Nearly all landed in North Waziristan, a region that hosts several militant groups battling U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, notably the Haqqani network.

Although the U.S. does not acknowledge its use of unmanned drones, it has paid a price for such attacks.

A week ago, the CIA was forced to pull its top-ranking spy in Pakistan out of the country amid death threats.

The spy, station chief in Pakistan, had recently been named in a lawsuit filed by a Pakistani man seeking $500 million for the death of his son and brother, who he alleges were killed in a U.S. drone strike.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/afghanistan/101227/us-drones-pakistan-afghanistan