The Government of Pakistan strongly condemned the US drone strikes that killed at least 18 people in Miranshah on Wednesday.

Four unmanned aircraft fired as many missiles on a compound in the main market area of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.

"These strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Pakistan has repeatedly emphasized the importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The ministry also stated that the government of Pakistan has consistently maintained that drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications.

"These drone strikes have a negative impact on the mutual desire of both countries to forge a cordial and cooperative relationship and to ensure peace and stability in the region," the ministry said.

US officials rarely provide details publicly about the covert CIA drone program in Pakistan.

It was the second US drone attack inside Pakistan since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister in June, calling for an end to such strikes and complaining that they violated the country s sovereignty.

The previous attack, in which seven people were killed, came on June 7 just two days after Nawaz Sharif, of the centre-right Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), was sworn in.