"A missile killed six Taliban fighters in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, intelligence officials said, apparently the latest strike in a covert U.S. program that American officials are considering intensifying.
U.S. drones have carried out more than 70 missile attacks in the north over the last year, but the strikes are rarely acknowledged by Washington. The United States says the mountainous tribal belt along the border is a base for militant attacks on American and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan and a stronghold of Al Qaeda's senior leadership.
An unmanned U.S. drone targeted a Taliban compound in the South Waziristan tribal region and killed six insurgents, including two Uzbek fighters, and wounded six others, two Pakistani intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The missile attack occurred in Sararogha village, the base of former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in an Aug. 5 strike by an American drone.
South Waziristan is an Al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold that has seen a spike in violence in recent days, including suicide attacks and rocket and mortar exchanges between militants and the Pakistani army. The army has moved into other areas in the northwest over the last year, but has so far avoided major operations in Waziristan.
The U.S. missile attacks have killed several Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders as well as civilians. The Pakistani government routinely protests the attacks, but they are widely believed to take place with the sanction of Pakistani security agencies."
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