U.S. Missiles Kill Several Islamist Militants in Pakistan

August 1, 2011 - 4:15 AM

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — American drone-fired missiles killed three suspected Islamist militants Monday near the Afghan border, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The missiles struck a car in the Nargusa area of South Waziristan, which like much of the border region is home to al-Qaida and Taliban fighters. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with their agency's rules.

The United States routinely fires missiles at militants in the northwest.

Washington does not publicly acknowledge the program or say who it is targeting, but it is believed to strike at militants intent on crossing over the border into Afghanistan to fight U.S. and NATO forces there. The attacks also target al-Qaida fighters holed up in the rugged tribal area.

Monday's attack was the first recorded missile strike in Pakistan since July 12.

The CIA-led program is a source of tension between the United States and Pakistan, which formally protests the missile strikes and says they fuel militancy in the region. Claims of civilian casualties in the strikes are not publicly investigated.