The aftermath of a US assassination drone attack in North Waziristan in June 2011
An airstrike carried out by US assassination drones has killed four people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area, which borders Afghanistan, security officials say.
US drones fired two missiles on a house in Dattakhel town, 35 kilometres (21 miles) west of Miranshah, the main city in North Waziristan, in the early hours of Friday morning, killing four people and injuring several others, the Pakistani television network Dawn News reported.
Between 2,536 and 3,577 people have been killed in Pakistan by the CIA-operated drones in Pakistan since 2004, including between 411 and nearly 884 civilians, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a report in January.
Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures show that Pakistani civilians are often the victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.
The slaughter of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, in US drone strikes has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, and Pakistani officials have complained to the US administration.
In September 2012, a report by the Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law gave an alarming account of the effect that assassination drone strikes have on ordinary people in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
“The number of ‘high-level’ targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low -- estimated at just 2%,” the report noted.