Sat, 07 Mar 2009 14:15:22 GMT
Taliban insurgents have shot down a suspected US drone in a Pakistani tribal belt near the troubled border with Afghanistan, officials say.
"We heard the firing by Taliban and then a drone fell down," police official Israr Khan told AFP on Saturday.
Witnesses said two drones were flying low over a town in the South Waziristan region when militants fired on one of them.
The US has also informed the Pakistani military that a drone had gone missing over Waziristan, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Suspected unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), routinely fly over northwest Pakistani regions on the Afghan border looking for al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militants. The drones are believed to belong to the US military.
The drones have repeatedly carried out dozens missile attacks on suspected militants over the past year.
The tribal regions along the shared border between Pakistan and Afghanistan have become a safe haven for militants after a US-led invasion in late 2001 toppled Taliban in Afghanistan and sent insurgents to border areas with Pakistan.
The drone operations have increased tension between Islamabad and Washington, triggering anti-American sentiments among the Pakistani people.
Over 500 people -- suspected militants as well as civilians -- have been killed in such attacks.
The attacks have been carried out even after US President Barack Obama took office in January. Obama has said that he is prepared to bomb inside Pakistan if he gets relevant intelligence about the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.
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