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US drone strike kills 8 militants in NW Pakistan

Wednesday’s strike was the first after killing of former Afghan Taliban chief, who was killed in a drone attack in May 2016

US drone strike kills 8 militants in NW Pakistan FILE PHOTO

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan

At least eight suspected Taliban militants have been killed in a U.S. drone strike -- the first after President Donald Trump took office-- in Pakistan’s restive northwestern tribal region, a security official said on Thursday.

The missiles struck a compound on the outskirts of Dattakhel town in North Waziristan agency, close to Afghan border.

The militants killed in the strike belonged to Akhtar Mohammad group, an affiliate of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the official told Anadolu Agency, who requested anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to the media.

The U.S. carried out last drone strike in May 2016, when former Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansur was killed in southwestern province of Balochistan.

More than 3,450 people have been killed in 416 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, local media reports said.

According to international think tanks and human rights groups -- including Amnesty international and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism -- 70 percent of drone victims were unarmed civilians.

Despite Pakistan's public objections to the U.S. drone strikes, it is rumored to have given tacit approval to the ongoing controversial operations. Pakistan has also developed its own drone to use in the militant-hit northwestern tribal belt.

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