It may take months before the United States deploys 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan under Barack Obama's latest surge, but the U.S. military is already rushing to expand its "Drone War" in neighbouring Pakistan's troubled tribal areas.
Around 4 a.m. on Thursday, a swarm of pilotless Predator drones unleashed 12 Hellfire missiles on two suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda hideouts in the mountain district of Datta Khel in North Waziristan, killing 17 suspected terrorists, including seven "Arabs."
In the first attack, a remote-controlled drone fired two missiles at a car carrying two insurgents as it entered the village of Dosali around midnight.
Hours later, in an unusual pack attack, five drones attacked two compounds in neighbouring Ambarshaga. Local Pakistani intelligence officials say a withering blast of 10 missiles killed at least 15 insurgents.