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US drone kills 8 militants in Pakistan

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Islamabad: At least eight Taliban militants were killed today in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s troubled North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border, the first such attack this year by CIA-operated pilotless aircraft in the country.

The drone targeted compound in Shawal region of North Waziristan, one of seven tribal district, where Pakistan military is engaged in an operation against al-Qaeda-linked militants.

A security official said that militants linked to Hafiz Gul Bahadur Taliban group were targeted, killing eight of them. The exact identity of those killed was not known yet.

Shawal is a mountainous region on Pak-Afghan border where al-Qaeda militants are still hiding despite a relentless military campaign by Pakistan army, which killed more than 1,500 militants since start of an operation in June last year.

It was the first strike of the 2015.

North Waziristan has long been used as shelter by the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants and has frequently been targeted by US drones.

For almost a decade, American drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt have been deeply unpopular with the public.

Pakistani officials have publicly condemned the drone strikes, saying they violate sovereignty.

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