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U.S. Drone Strike Reportedly Kills Seven In Pakistan

A U.S. drone aircraft fired two missiles at a compound in a remote area of northwest Pakistan, killing seven people Friday night, according to reports. Pakistani officials who spoke about the strike to the AP say it killed seven militants.

"The missiles reportedly hit the remote village of Shokhel in the Shawal valley, some 100km (60 miles) southwest of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan," the BBC reports.

North Waziristan, a mountainous tribal area along the border with Afghanistan, is seen as a stronghold for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

The strike comes two days after Pakistan's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was sworn in — an occasion Sharif used to voice his displeasure, shared by many Pakistanis, with U.S. strikes in the country.

"We respect the sovereignty of others, but others don't respect our sovereignty. These daily drone attacks must stop," Sharif said, as reported by NBC News.

Friday's attack is the second since President Obama spoke in late May of aiming for a new balance of priorities in America's fight against terrorism, promising a new emphasis on capturing suspects, instead of killing them.

"America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us," Obama said, "mindful of James Madison's warning that 'No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.'"

The president also said that military incursions such as the one that resulted in Osama bin Laden's death "cannot be the norm." But U.S. officials have privately said that specific rules will apply to Pakistan and Afghanistan for as long as U.S. troops are in that area, reports The New York Times.

On May 29, a U.S. drone strike was credited with killing the No. 2 leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Wali ur-Rehman, along with several other people. Like Friday's strike, that attack also took place in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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