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US drone crashes in NW Pakistan: official

world Updated: Feb 26, 2012 09:59 IST

A US drone crashed in northwest Pakistan's tribal district near the Afghan border late Saturday, officials said.


The unmanned reconnaissance aircraft came down in the mountainous Machikhel area about 30 kilometres east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan region, which is frequently targeted by drone strikes against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, military and security officials said.

"A US drone crashed, apparently due to some technical fault," a military official in the northwestern city of Peshawar told AFP.

Security officials in the region confirmed the crash saying it fell in the mountains.

The crash site has been surrounded by militants, one security official said, refusing to confirm claims by some Taliban that the drone was shot down by insurgents.

Militants had taken away parts of the wreckage, a security official said.

President Barack Obama last month confirmed for the first time that US drones target Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants on Pakistani soil, but American officials do not discuss details of the covert programme.

At least 13 militants were killed in two drone attacks on February 16 in North Waziristan and a week earlier Badar Mansoor, described as the "de facto leader of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan" was killed in a missile strike, also in North Waziristan.

The United States says Pakistan's tribal belt provides sanctuary to Taliban fighting in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda groups plotting attacks on the West, and Pakistani Taliban who routinely bomb Pakistan, and other foreign fighters.