US missiles kill 16 Pakistani militants

13 more die in pair of separate bomb attacks

PARACHINAR, Pakistan — US drones fired four missiles at a compound of a Pakistani militant commander in a northwestern tribal region Thursday, killing 16 militants, and two bombings in another part of the country killed 10 civilians and three security personnel, officials said.

Salim Khan, a government administrator in Orakzai region, said 12 insurgents were also wounded in the drone attack near Biland village bordering the North Waziristan tribal region. Three Pakistani intelligence officials said the dead and wounded men were fighters loyal to militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, based in North Waziristan.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief reporters on the record.


Although US authorities often target militant hideouts in the country’s North and South Waziristan tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, such strikes in other tribal regions like Orakzai are rare. The United States rarely discusses the unmanned drone strikes, which are part of a covert CIA program.

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The strikes are extremely contentious in Pakistan, where many consider them an affront to Pakistani sovereignty. They also say the strikes kill innocent civilians, which the United States denies.

The Pakistani government protested to the US Embassy in Islamabad about Thursday’s drone strikes as well as another Wednesday in which five people were killed.

‘‘The embassy was informed that drone strikes on Pakistani territory were a clear violation of international law and Pakistan’s sovereignty. These attacks were unacceptable to Pakistan,’’ the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Washington says the strikes are an important part of battling militants in the tribal areas, where Pakistan has been unable or unwilling to do so.


The latest drone attack came hours after a bomb at a crowded market in Pakistan’s restive southwestern province of Baluchistan killed 10 people. A roadside bombing elsewhere in the troubled region killed three security officials, police said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, but nationalists in Baluchistan have long waged a low-level insurgency to pressure the government to increase the local share of funds from resources such as natural gas that are extracted from the province.

Islamist militants, including the Al Qaeda affiliated group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, also operate in Baluchistan.

The market bombing Thursday took place in the town of Sibi in Baluchistan, and it also wounded 24 people, said senior police officer, Ghulam Aali Lashari. He said the blast destroyed several shops.