MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - A U.S. drone aircraft killed nine suspected militants on Saturday in Pakistan's North Waziristan region near the Afghan border, Pakistani security officials said.
The controversial drone program, a key element in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, is highly unpopular in Pakistan where it is considered a violation of sovereignty which causes unacceptable civilian casualties.
In Saturday's strike, a drone fired missiles at a compound in the Shawal area of North Waziristan, killing the nine, said the officials who declined to be identified.
Shawal is a remote area of forested ridges and valleys that spreads out on both sides of the border and has long been known as a haven for militants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and beyond.
A Pakistani parliamentary committee recently demanded an end to drone strikes on Pakistani territory as part of its recommendations for how its relationship with the United States should change.
The United States has given no indication it intends to halt the campaign, and the administration of President Barack Obama has said the use of the remotely piloted aircraft is legal under international law.
(Reporting by Haji Mujtaba in MIRANSHAH and Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR; Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Robert Birsel)