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US drones return to Pakistan, at least 3 suspected militants reported dead

Attack marks the first US drone activity in Pakistan in a month.

Us pakistan drone 2012 02 09Enlarge
Drone attacks in Pakistan, such as the one that killed Badar Mansoor on Thursday, have fallen sharply since November after an airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, leading to a breakdown in relations between the US and Pakistan. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States resumed drone activity in Pakistan with an attack in North Waziristan that tribal leaders said killed at least three suspected insurgents, reported The Associated Press

Two missiles on Sunday hit an abandoned girls school in the town of Miranshah, seen as a haven for the powerful Haqqani terrorist group, said AP

Pakistan's foreign office today denounced the move as a violation of its sovereignty, saying such attacks stand in "total contravention of international law and established norms of interstate relations," according to a ministry statement

The attack marks the first US drone activity in Pakistan since March 30, when Pakistani lawmakers said the US must cease such activity if they want to re-establish diplomatic relations with the country, reported AP

More from GlobalPost: The Drone Wars

Pakistani officials hinted the incident may imperil Pakistan's participation in an upcoming NATO summit in Chicago later this month, reported The Express Tribune

Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan told The Wall Street Journal today that "[n]o decision has been made yet" over the country's participation. Pakistan pulled out of a December conference in Germany in protest over a the killing of 24 Pakistani troops last November.

The drone issue, the November incident, and the US-led raid that captured wanted terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, which US officials did not inform Pakistan about until after it had been completed, have all complicated US-Pakistan relations in recent months.

Pakistani officials told AP today that the resumption of drone activity will prove a setback for reconciliation efforts, with cabinet member Sheikh Waqas Akram saying the "CIA could have opted not to go for a drone strike at such crucial time when senior U.S. officials are trying hard to iron out differences with Pakistan."

Pakistan's parliament last month passed a new set of rules governing relations with the United States, a move the US hoped would be a step toward re-opening key supply lines for military operations in nearby Afghanistan, according to AP.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120429/us-drones-return-pakistan-at-least-3-militants-re