Asia

Pakistan says homemade drone 'kills three militants'

A Pakistani soldier stands guard in the mountain of Shawal along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, 29 April 2006 Image copyright AAMIR QURESHI
Image caption Pakistan's military launched an offensive against the Taliban in North Waziristan last year

Pakistan's military says it has deployed a locally-made drone for the first time, killing three militants near the Afghan border.

In a statement, the army said missiles fired by the drone had hit a compound in the North Waziristan tribal region.

The army unveiled its Burraq (Prophet's Horse) drone in March, saying it could fire laser-guided missiles.

Pakistan officially opposes drone strikes carried out by the United States in Pakistan's tribal regions.

It has consistently demanded help with developing its own drone technology, but the US has refused to supply this.

Military spokesman Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa said the Burraq drone hit a suspected militant hideout in the Shawal valley.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Pakistan is thought to tacitly support US drone strikes - despite deep public opposition

The Shawal valley has seen fierce fighting between Pakistani troops and militants since the military launched an offensive in the region in June last year.

Pakistan already deploys home-produced surveillance drones, but Sunday night's attack means it joins only a handful of countries with drones which have offensive capabilities.

There were few details about the missile strike - and even less is known about the range of Pakistan's new attack drone or its accuracy.

Analysts say the country's drones closely resemble those from its ally, China. Pakistan's rival India is currently developing its own drone programme.

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