MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — A US drone strike late Monday destroyed a militant training camp in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, killing 12 local Taliban fighters, officials said.
The drone fired two missiles, destroying the compound in the Shakai area of South Waziristan tribal district, according to Pakistani officials who said that local Taliban fighters were using the compound to train.
"A US drone fired two missiles. The training camp was completely destroyed. 12 militants have been killed," a security official at Peshawar told AFP, requesting anonymity.
Another security official in Wana, the main town of South Waziristan tribal district which is a known stronghold of insurgents, confirmed the attack and deaths.
Washington has called Pakistan's semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on Earth and the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda, where Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked networks have established bases.
Eighteen US drone strikes have now been reported in Pakistan's tribal belt since US commandos found and killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a unilateral airborne raid on the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2.
Relations between Pakistan and the United States, wary at the best of times, have deteriorated sharply since the killing, and Islamabad has demanded an end to the drone strikes.
The bin Laden raid humiliated the Pakistani military and invited allegations of incompetence and complicity, while Washington has increasingly demanded that Islamabad take decisive action against terror networks.
The United States does not officially confirm Predator drone attacks, but its military and the CIA operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the armed, unmanned aircraft in the region.
The missile strikes are hugely unpopular among a Pakistani public deeply opposed to the government's alliance with Washington and sensitive to perceived violations of sovereignty.
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