PESHAWAR - At least 11 militants, including two Uzbeks, were killed and two others sustained injuries as US drones fired missiles at a militant compound and a vehicle in Dattakhel tehsil of North Waziristan Agency on Wednesday.

The US pilotless aircraft fired four missiles, two each targeting a militant compound and a vehicle at Lawara Mandi village about 50 miles in the west of Miranshah, near a bordering area with Afghanistan.

Sources said at least 10 militants, including Uzbeks, were killed in these strikes. The house and the targeted vehicle were destroyed completely. They added the spy planes fired two missiles at a house, killing eight militants, while three others were killed as a moving vehicle was targeted some 500 meters away from the Afghan border.

The US drones often target militant hideouts in North and South Waziristan Agencies. These strikes resumed in June last after a gap of six months. However, the latest drone strike came at a time when Pakistan Army is fighting terrorists in North Waziristan Agency.

Pakistan Army launched a full-scale operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ on June 15 last to clean North Waziristan Agency of both local and foreigner militants. More than 1,000 militants and 86 soldiers have so far been killed in the operation.

The military operation was initiated following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport and failure of peace talks between the government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Since June 2014, the US drones have hit militants’ positions several times in North Waziristan Agency, on June 11, two drone attacks were carried out in Miranshah, killing at least 16 militants. This was the first drone strike in 2014 since the previous attack occurred in December 2013. On June 18, six militants were killed in a US drone strike on Miranshah and on July 19, seven were killed in a similar strike on Dattakhel.

In another attack, again 20 militants were killed as a militant compound was targeted with four missiles in Dattakhel, on July 19, seven militants perished in a drone strike on Madakhel and on August 6, the drone strikes killed six militants in Dattakhel.

It has been reported that so far the US drones have carried out about 391 attacks on Fata.

AFP adds: “There are two Uzbeks among the dead militants identified so far,” a senior security official said on the condition of anonymity.

Security officials in the neighbouring garrison town of Bannu and Miranshah confirmed the drone attack and casualties and said it happened at around 3:30am Wednesday. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement condemned the drone attacks.

“Pakistan regards such strikes as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said. Pakistan also believes that with the decisive action being taken against terrorist elements in North Waziristan, there is no need for such strikes. We, therefore, demand a cessation of such strikes.”

Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for Islamist militants of all stripes, including Al-Qaeda and the homegrown Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.

Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out the sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which militants have used to launch attacks on NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Pakistan routinely protests against US drone strikes which have been targeting militants in the tribal areas since 2004, saying they violate its sovereignty and are counterproductive in the war on terror. But most analysts believe the resumption of the drone programme after it was suspended, reportedly to give Pakistan space for negotiations with the Taliban, is evidence of collusion between the two countries. The Islamabad government and military officials strongly deny this.