Pakistan drone attacks to intensify, Obama officials say
On Tuesday, Pakistani leaders reportedly rebuked visiting US officials over the airstrikes, which have prompted violent responses from militants.
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As Pakistan sharply rebukes United States Predator drone attacks inside Pakistani territory, the Obama administration plans to turn up the number of those attacks in Pakistan's restive tribal belt, according to news reports.
The controversial announcement comes as fierce fighting erupted between the Taliban and a homegrown militia force that the Pakistani government is backing against the extremist force, according to Dawn, an influential English newspaper in Pakistan.
Three police officials, two Lashkar (militia) men and sixteen militants were killed in [an] overnight clash between Taliban and Qaumi Lashkar in Buner district, police and residents said on Tuesday.
The fierce fighting erupted on Monday night when the Qaumi Lashkar and local police force made efforts to enter the Gokand valley via Rajagaly Kandow from Pir Baba side to flush out Taliban militants who had sneaked in to the district on Saturday from neighbouring Swat.
Residents and police officials said a group of some 60 Taliban militants armed with light and heavy weapons managed to cross from Swat and take control of the mountain top in neighbouring Buner district.
More fighting is expected in Buner, reports The Nation, a Pakistani daily.
The situation in Buner is further deteriorating when the Taliban militants have refused to leave the area after killing of four people including three policemen. People from all over scattered areas of Buner particularly from Daggar, Gagra and Gadezai Tehsil are consolidating their positions with a view to forcing the Taliban to return to Swat.
The possible spread of the Taliban out of the Swat Valley highlights the heated debate currently underway between Washington and Islamabad over how best to neutralize the militant group on either side of the Afghan border.
But while those attacks may have proved effective in eliminating terrorist targets, they have sowed deep resentment among Pakistani officials and violent responses from the militants themselves.