A reported US drone strike killed seven people in Pakistan on Wednesday, according to security officials. It was the first apparent drone strike in the country since a May 11 election where the use of the unmanned aircraft was a major issue.
The drone strike happened in Pakistan’s volatile North Waziristan tribal region, hitting a mud-built house at Chashma village, about two miles east of Miranshah, the administrative town of North Waziristan.
US President Barack Obama recently hinted that he would be scaling back drone attacks in the Middle East. The comment won cautious approval with Pakistan, especially in North Waziristan, where drones have carried out the most strikes against militants in the past seven years.
Drone strikes in Pakistan have caused heavy civilian casualties, though the United States has said they have done good as well. Pakistan remains a key ally in the US war on terror.
Pakistani security officials and tribesmen reported the drone strike on Wednesday, saying the unmanned vehicle fired two missiles. Seven people were killed in the attack, while four more were wounded. It was not clear if the victims were the targets of the attack.
Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Shariff recently spoke out against the US drone program, saying that the strikes are a “challenge” to Pakistan’s sovereignty. He added, “We will sit with our American friends and talk to them about this issue.”
It is estimated that US drone strikes have killed as many as 2,700 militants since 2004. Civilian death estimates range from 250 to 800. The strikes have resulted in a growing resentment among Pakistani citizens against the Unite States. They believe that the attacks have killed hundreds of innocent citizens over the years.
Shazad Ackbar, a former prosecutor, won a landmark legal victory this month regarding the US drone strikes. Pakistan’s high court ruled that the attacks are illegal. They issued an order to Pakistan’s government, saying:
“You have to give a stern warning to the United States, to shut down the drones, and if you don’t, you are within your rights under international law to shoot drones down.”
But despite the apparently ongoing US drone strikes in Pakistan, it is unlikely that Shariff will order troops to shoot down US drones.
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