US drone strike kills four Pakistani militants

A missile from an unmanned US plane has killed at least four Islamic militants in Pakistan in the first drone attack since November.

Shortly before Wednesday midnight, the missiles hit an insurgent compound in North Waziristan, on the Afghan border. The area is known as an Al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold.

In recent years, the US has been increasingly using drone attacks to fight insurgents in Pakistan's largely lawless Pashtun tribal areas in the west and northwest, believed to be fueling violence across the Afghan border.

The Obama administration claims that drone strikes have significantly weakened the Al-Qaeda.

The new attack comes two months after an American air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, adding to the already tense relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

The White House said the November attack was an error, but Pakistan rejected the findings, saying the strike was deliberate. In response, Pakistan closed off NATO supply routes into Afghanistan and demanded that US troops leave its remote air base located in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province.

The Wednesday attack could have been performed with the complicit or implicit involvement of the Pakistani government, believes Chris Woods, a senior reporter at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at City University in London.

“The US and Pakistan have been discussing behind the scenes the Pakistan’s restraint policies for some weeks now,” Woods told RT. “So it is inconceivable that those drones were operating in Waziristan without the approval of the Pakistani government.”

On the other hand, Pakistan continues turning a deaf ear to such drone bombings due to immense funding from the US, Woods added.

“The US has a very deep financial relationship with Pakistan, and particularly with Pakistan’s military,” Woods said. “Billions of dollars a year are being spent on Pakistan’s military by the US for almost a decade. That money is important for Pakistan. The problem arises when civilians get killed – that happens fairly frequently – or other military organizations Pakistan is friendly with come under attack. That places Pakistan in quite an awkward position towards military organizations within its own borders.”