U.S. launches first drone strike since deadly November attack

Drone missions were halted last year after a set of controversial American strikes left two dozen Pakistani soldiers dead.

Story highlights

  • Four suspected militants killed, according to Pakistani intelligence sources
  • The attack represents an apparent end to the pause in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan
  • U.S strikes in November left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead, straining U.S.-Pakistan relations
  • The U.S. launches new drone attack against suspected militants in Pakistan

The United States has launched its first drone attack in Pakistan after more than a month-long lull, killing at least four suspected militants, CNN has confirmed.

The drone fired two missiles on Tuesday at a suspected militant compound near the provincial capital of Miranshah in the North Waziristan region, located in the country's volatile tribal belt that borders Afghanistan.

It represents an apparent end to the pause in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, halted last year after a set of controversial American strikes left two dozen Pakistani soldiers dead at two mountainous border posts and further strained relations between the two nations.

Pakistan's military has repeatedly insisted that airstrikes that killed 24 of its soldiers on November 26 near the Afghan border were deliberate. Its government soon thereafter ordered the American military to vacate an air base used to launch drone strikes.

A U.S. investigation into the attacks blamed poor communication and "inadequate coordination" between both nations that prompted the deadly incident.

Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Clark said last month that a coalition team heading toward an Afghan village near the Pakistani border came under attack from "very direct and heavy" machine gun fire, as well as to incoming mortars.

The ground commander responded with a "show of force," with an F-15 jet and an AC-130 gunship making their presence known and dropped flares illuminating the area, Clark said. When the firing and mortars didn't stop, airstrikes were called in.

But Pakistani officials have argued that well-established operating procedures and an intricate system for operational information sharing were deliberately ignored, which led to the deaths.

The disagreement is thought to have further eroded the already fragile relations between the United States and Pakistan.

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        North Korea nuclear dream video

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photos: Faces of the world

        Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        How to fix a soccer match

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.