Pakistan’s military has confirmed that at about 5:30 AM this morning a US drone struck a home and a former government school near the North Waziristan town of Miramshah. The strike killed at least 14 people and injured 12 others.
Residents said the shuttered school had been occupied by militants but the home reportedly belonged to local tribesman named Yousaf Khan Wazir, who had no apparent ties to the militants. Among those killed in the strike were Wazir and at least six women and children.
This is the second US strike this week near Miramshah. On Monday, US drones attacked a religious school in the same area, killing at least 23 people. And while Pakistan’s military has taken a strong stance against ground forces operating in the tribal regions, they have largely chosen to ignore strikes by unmanned US drones.
It also comes at a time when US-Pakistan tensions are rising over the a reported secret July directive by President Bush which allowed the use of ground forces in Pakistan. The directive was brought to attention after an attack last week involving US ground troops in South Waziristan killed 20 civilians. According to both US and Pakistani officials, the Bush directive came entirely without approval from either Pakistan’s military or its government.
The US strikes have outraged many of the tribesman living in the the border region, and led yesterday to Wazir tribesmen in South Waziristan Agency threatening to pull out of a long-standing peace agreement unless the government does something to prevent future attacks. It also sparked a warning from retired Pakistan General Hamid Gul, who said “Instead of solving the problem it has only exacerbated it. If those people in those areas were not part of the Taliban forces before these strikes they will be now”.
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