ISLAMABAD (AP) – A suspected U.S. missile attack killed six alleged militants on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border Wednesday, intelligence officials said, in the third such attack on the Al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold in 24 hours.
Americans officials said recently they are considering increasing the frequency of attacks in the region.
Unmanned drones have carried out more than 70 missile strikes in northwestern Pakistan over the last year in a covert program. They have killed several top militant commanders along with sympathizers and civilians. The Pakistani government publicly protests the attacks, but is widely believed to sanction them and provide intelligence for at least some of them.
Wednesday’s strike destroyed a vehicle close to the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, killing six suspected militants inside, said two intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the secretive nature of their work.
Attacks Tuesday in north and south Waziristan killed 12 people, officials said.
Washington says defeating insurgents in Pakistan is vital for stabilizing Afghanistan, where violence is raging eight years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban.
The U.S. believes much of the Afghan insurgency is directed by militants in safe havens across the border.
American officials have said they are considering a strategy of intensified drone attacks against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets on the Pakistani side of the border, part of an alternative to sending more troops to Afghanistan in what is an increasingly unpopular war.