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U.S. Drone Missiles Reportedly Kill Four In Tribal Area Of Pakistan

A U.S. drone missile strike has reportedly killed at least four suspected militants and wounded two others in Miramshah, Pakistan, the main city in the tribal area of North Waziristan, according to Pakistani officials. The United States does not normally confirm its drone strikes.

From Islamabad, Julie McCarthy filed this report for our Newscast unit:

According to the office of the political agent, the drone missiles struck a house and a nearby parked car in Miramshah as residents were beginning the pre-dawn Ramadan fast.

The U.S. administration insists that drone attacks have helped degrade the terror networks that use Pakistan as a sanctuary, including al-Qaeda. U.S. officials also say that they are a precision weapon that causes few civilian casualties.

Others dispute that. Dennis Blair, who was director of national intelligence from 2009 to 2010, wrote in The New York Times Monday that "as the U.S. drone campaign wears on, hatred of America is increasing in Pakistan."

The drone attack came one week after a U.S. drone attack killed at least 21 militants in North Waziristan. And last month, strikes conducted by drone craft killed at least 30 people in less than 24 hours in the area, the BBC reports.

The recent attack may bring the ire of the Taliban, which has issued a decree that bans klling in Miramshah during Ramadan. The ban, being enforced by two clerics, carries a fine of 500,000 rupees — around $5,770.

America's tactics in the fight terrorist groups in Afghanistan are being discussed on Tuesday's Fresh Air, as guest host Dave Davies talks with Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt about their book Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America's Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda.

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