South Asia

US drone 'kills 10 suspected militants' in Pakistan

US drone
Image caption US drone attacks are being stepped up along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border

At least 10 suspected militants have been killed in a drone attack in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, officials say.

Two missiles were fired at a compound in Maizarkhel area of Dattakhel sub-district, some 40km (25 miles) from the town of Miranshah.

The militants belonged to the group led by local Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, they said.

This is the second drone strike in North Waziristan in 12 hours.

On Thursday evening, a missile was fired by a suspected drone near Mirali town, 15km (9 miles) from Miranshah.

Three Afghan nationals, believed to be members of Hakimullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan were killed in the strike, officials said.

Nearly 70 drone strikes have killed more than 200 people in Waziristan since the start of 2010, officials say.

Drone attacks have focused on North and South Waziristan, where US officials believe many al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters find shelter.

Pakistan publicly criticises drone attacks, saying they fuel support for militants. But observers say the authorities privately condone the strikes.

The American military does not routinely confirm drone operations, but analysts say the US is the only force capable of deploying such aircraft in the region.