American drone strikes resume in Pakistan, kill 16 militants
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistan on Thursday condemned two airstrikes that reportedly killed 16 suspected militants and appeared to mark an end to a nearly six-month pause in the CIA's covert drone operations in the country's lawless tribal areas.
After six militants were reported killed in the first strike in the North Waziristan tribal region late Wednesday, drones fired six missiles at a residential compound in the same area on Thursday morning and killed 10, according to Pakistani security sources.
“These strikes are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The United States last used drones to attack in December.
The CIA has decreased use of the unmanned aircraft due to mounting Pakistani opposition and restrictions on their use announced by the Obama administration.
The efforts by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to get the United States to rein in the use of drones while he pursues peace talks with insurgents probably ended this week when militants stormed the airport in the city of Karachi, leaving 36 people dead, including the 10 attackers.
Former U.S. military officials had indicated that American forces would be likely to step up operations against Taliban insurgents and their allies in Pakistan's tribal belt once Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban in North Waziristan, was freed nearly two weeks ago.
Four of the six militants killed on Wednesday in the Darga Mandi area were reportedly from Uzbekistan, where an Islamist group claimed that it participated in the Karachi attack.