First 2014 U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan Kill 10 Militants

U.S. drone strikes hit tribal areas of Pakistan for the first time this year, with 10 militants killed in separate attacks, according to a government official from the region.

“The first hit a house while the second hit a moving vehicle,” Noor Alam, a spokesman at the North Waziristan political agent’s office, which governs the area on behalf of the federal government, said by phone. “At least eight missiles were fired in both strikes.”

The attacks come as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif weighs a response to a militant assault four days ago on Karachi’s international airport that killed 38 people. Sharif earlier asked the U.S. to halt the strikes while he sought peace talks with Taliban militants who are part of an insurgency that has killed 50,000 people since 2001.

The TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed responsibility for the airport attack, Dawn newspaper reported, citing unidentified people. Four Uzbek militants died in the first air raid, it said.

The government condemned the strikes, saying they violate sovereignty and have a negative impact on efforts to restore peace, according to a foreign ministry statement today.

The peace process with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, stalled in April after militants accused the government of sabotaging the process by carrying out clandestine air strikes against them. More than 60 militants died, including Uzbek and Germans linked with al-Qaeda.

(Updates with govt. statement in fifth paragraph.)
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