A U.S. drone strike targeting a militant compound Thursday killed three insurgents in a northwest Pakistan tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said.
The attack took place near Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan tribal district.
“A U.S. drone fired two missiles on a militant compound, hitting a part of the house and also a vehicle parked there, killing three militants,” said a senior security official on condition of anonymity. He said that fire engulfed the vehicle soon after the attack, while local people were trying to recover the dead bodies and injured trapped beneath the rubble of the compound.
Another official in Peshawar confirmed the attack, saying the identities of the militants were immediately unclear.
In a statement, the government of Pakistan condemned the most recent strike. “These strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. There is an across the board consensus in Pakistan that these drone strikes must end,” it stated, adding that such attacks set “dangerous precedents in the inter-state relations.”
The incident comes a week after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged U.S. President Barack Obama to stop drone strikes during a meeting in Washington.
The Pakistani defense ministry Wednesday said 317 U.S. drone strikes in the country’s tribal areas had killed 67 civilians and 2,160 militants in Pakistan since 2008.
U.S. drone attacks are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, but Washington sees them as a vital tool in the fight against militants in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has repeatedly protested against drone strikes as a violation of its sovereignty.
But privately officials have been reported as saying the attacks can be useful in removing militants from the country.