Report: Tribesmen fire at unmanned planes

Jan. 18, 2012 at 12:55 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Pakistani tribesmen, upset with what they see as government inaction, fired at suspected U.S. drones flying over their areas, witnesses told the newspaper Dawn.

The tribesmen in North Waziristan, armed with Kalashnikov rifles and heavy machine guns, fired at the drones Tuesday but there was no word whether any of the unmanned aircraft were brought down, the Pakistani newspaper said.

Local told Dawn more than six drones were seen flying at low altitude over Miramshah, Razmak, Datakhel, Mirali, Shawal and other areas of North Waziristan throughout the day.

The report said there was a daylong curfew in some of the areas and office, educational institutions and shops remained closed.

Suspected U.S. drone strikes have resumed in the area after a long lull following a NATO airstrike in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were mistakenly killed. Relations between the United States and Pakistan have worsened since the November incident.

There have been reports the lull in drone strokes had helped the militants regroup.

Since the November incident, Dawn reported the Pakistani government has warned of retaliation if there were any more incidents involving foreign forces and that the military has upgraded its air defense system along the border with Afghanistan.

However, local people in the North Waziristan area told Dawn despite the presence of additional security forces, drones have continued their campaign and fire missiles, while their government has adopted complete silence.

Pakistani officials were quoted as saying the troops had halted their movements in the region because of heavy rains and snowfall.

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