Islamabad - Expressing shock and sorrow over the accidental killing of two Western hostages in a US drone strike, Pakistan said Friday that deaths demonstrated risk involved in using such type of technology.

“The death of Mr Weinstein and Mr Lo Porto in a drone strike demonstrates the risk and unintended consequences of the use of this technology that Pakistan has been highlighting for a long time,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said in a statement.

She said the news of the accidental killing of two Western hostages Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto in the US drone strike conducted in January this year had been received in Pakistan with shock and sorrow.

“The people and government of Pakistan convey their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families,” she added.

The White House confirmed the other day that American national Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, held hostage by Al-Qaeda in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, were killed in a US counterterrorism operation in January. She said having lost thousands of innocent civilians in the war against terrorism, “Pakistan can fully understand this tragic loss and stands with the families of Weinstein and Lo Porto in this difficult time.”

Agencies add: President Barack Obama admitted on Thursday that American and Italian hostages were accidentally killed in a counter-terrorism operation in January targeting a suspected Al-Qaeda hideout.

Obama said US consultant Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto were killed along with Ahmed Faruq, an American described as a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). The CIA’s drone campaign targeting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in restive northwest Pakistan has long been highly controversial.

Publicly Islamabad has regularly condemned it as counterproductive and a violation of sovereignty, though past Pakistani leaders are known to have approved some strikes.

The White House gave few details of this incident but it appears from an AQIS audio statement released earlier this month that it was a drone strike on January 15 in North Waziristan tribal area, close to the Afghan border.

AQIS spokesman Usama Mahmood released an audio statement online on April 12 saying the group’s deputy leader Ahmed Farouq had been killed in a US drone strike on January 15.

The statement said the strike took place in the Shawal area of the North Waziristan tribal district. He did not refer to the two hostages, but only one US drone strike was reported in Pakistan on that date.

He also described Farouq as Pakistani, rather than American, though it is possible he had dual nationality.

Mahmood also said that US drone strikes in recent months had killed 50 Al-Qaeda members in Pakistan.

The bodies of those killed in drone strikes are usually badly damaged and quickly buried nearby by locals. This is likely to have happened with Farouq and the foreign hostages.

A source in the militant group told AFP that in the January 15 strike, missiles hit a mud house in Shawal, which lies on the border between North and South Waziristan tribal districts.

The area, off limits to foreign journalists, is hilly and densely forested, according to local residents contacted by AFP.

Fighters from the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups have long taken advantage of this natural cover to use the area as a hideout.

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The number of drone attacks in Pakistan has dropped sharply from a peak of 101 in 2010 to just 22 in 2014 and four so far this year, according to an AFP tally.