US drone hits militant hideout in Pakistan
It was the first US attack outside of the country's tribal belt. Conflicting reports have arisen as to Pakistan's approval of US tactics.
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On Friday, "at least 11 people were killed... including six foreign fighters, in a suspected U.S. missile strike on Pakistan's troubled border region of North Waziristan," according to The Washington Post.Skip to next paragraph
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The New York Times described a strike Sunday as a "barrage" attack:
American troops in Afghanistan fired an artillery barrage at insurgents in Pakistan's volatile tribal region in a strike coordinated with Pakistan's military, United States and NATO officials said Tuesday. The strike, less than a mile inside Pakistan, came Sunday after the militants fired rockets at an American position in Afghanistan.
Although such strikes have become more common, they have also been clouded by conflicting reports as to the nature of Pakistan's willingness to allow them.
This week, NATO and US military officials reported that Pakistani armed forces have been cooperating with US and NATO troops in Pakistan, citing Sunday's attack as an example, reports the Associated Press.
In the past month, NATO and Pakistan also have cooperated in so-called Operation Lion Heart — a series of complementary operations involving Pakistani army and paramilitary troops, and NATO forces on the Afghan side, said Col. John Spiszer, US commander in northeast Afghanistan.
But then Pakistan's military quickly denied any joint operation, according to Online International News Network, a Pakistani wire service.
[S]pokesman of Pakistan Forces, Major G. Athar Abbas has strongly refuted the statement and said that no joint operation was being carried out, and both the forces were conducting operations in their respective areas. "Pakistan forces are only allowed to take operation in Pakistani areas while US and Afghan forces conduct their own operations in the Afghan areas," he added.
But on Sunday, The Washington Post reported:
The United States and Pakistan reached tacit agreement in September on a don't-ask-don't-tell policy that allows unmanned Predator aircraft to attack suspected terrorist targets in rugged western Pakistan, according to senior officials in both countries.
"It is doing exactly the opposite of what you are trying to do. We are trying to separate the good guys from the bad guys, trying to separate the tribes from the militants. We made it abundantly clear that this [attack] was pushing them together and creating sympathy for the militants. Soon after that I went to Washington and repeated my message personally to the White House."