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Terrorism & Security

In Pakistan, US airstrike kills at least 8, but misses target

Frustration with such strikes is rising in Pakistan. On Thursday, the parliament called for making talks with militants the 'top priority.'

By David Montero / October 23, 2008

US military drones again fired at targets on Pakistani soil Thursday, in an apparent attempt to take out a prominent Taliban leader, while violence rippled across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Thursday's strike comes just as Parliament, in a "landmark achievement on Wednesday ... finally approved a 14-point resolution....that sought an urgent review of the country's national security strategy and a revisit of the strategy to combat terrorism in order to restore peace and stability in Pakistan as well as in the region." Pakistan's The News reports.

The nation stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively," the resolution said.

Reports of casualties from Thursday's attack varied between news outlets. The New York Times said the missiles killed eight people in North Waziristan, a Taliban enclave, but missed their apparent target.

The dead were all militant fighters, according to residents of the village of Dande Darpakhel. But the missiles did not strike a compound in the village owned by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, an associate of Osama bin Laden. Mr. Haqqani was the presumed target of the attack....
According to American officials, the Haqqani family protects forces from Al Qaeda in their enclaves in North and South Waziristan, provides logistics and intelligence for Al Qaeda operatives, and acts as a link between the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, who share the common mission of driving American and NATO troops from Afghanistan.

Pakistani newspaper Dawn, reports that 11 were killed, according to a security official.

Locals are still looking for more people in the rubble,' he said. ...
Residents said that all of the victims were local tribesmen, adding that locals had fired at two suspected US drones hovering above.

US attacks on Pakistani soil, which are seen "as a sign of US frustration at Pakistan's approach to counter-terrorism," according to Britain's Guardian newspaper, have grown more frequent in recent months.

There have been about a dozen such attacks in the past two months, Reuters reports.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan, frustrated over growing cross-border attacks from the Pakistani side of the border, have carried out about a dozen missile strikes and a commando raid in Pakistan since the beginning of September.

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