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Pakistan criticizes drone strikes

By the CNN Wire Staff
A file photograph of a 'Predator' drone similar to the type used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A file photograph of a 'Predator' drone similar to the type used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Drone strikes called "counter-productive"
  • Two militants died in the latest hit
  • The strikes mostly occur in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Pakistan
  • Waziristan
  • The Taliban
  • Al Qaeda

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan criticized the increase in suspected U.S. drone attacks Thursday, saying they undermine Pakistan's efforts to win over the people in the country's tribal region, where most of the strikes take place.

"We believe, strongly believe, that these drone attacks are counter-productive and not serving the larger strategic interests, especially in the context of our efforts to win hearts and minds which is part and parcel of winning, part and parcel of our strategy against militants and terrorist," Abdul Basit, foreign ministry spokesman said.

In the latest strike, a suspected U.S. drone attack killed two alleged militants in Pakistan's tribal region Thursday, intelligence officials told CNN.

Two intelligence officials said two missiles hit a suspected militant vehicle in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, one of seven districts in Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

One U.S. official said recently that the CIA has stepped up missile strikes in Pakistan, and the uptick in drone attacks is based on precise intelligence.

The United States does not officially comment on suspected drone strikes. But it is the only country operating in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from drones -- which are controlled remotely.

September has seen more attacks than any other month since the unmanned aerial strikes began.

The majority of the strikes this year have hit targets in North Waziristan.

While suspected militants have been killed, the strikes have also caused some civilian casualties.

The civilian death toll has angered Pakistanis, less than a tenth of whom support the strikes, said Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst.

According to a count kept by New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank of which Bergen is a fellow, the drones program in Pakistan has reportedly killed more than 1,000 people since 2004.