Suspected US Missile Strike Kills 5 In Pakistan Border Town

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Boston Globe
October 12, 2008
By Ishtiaq Mahsud, Associated Press
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - A suspected US missile strike killed at least five people in a town near the Afghan border late yesterday, the latest in a series of attacks in a region where top Al Qaeda leaders are believed to be living, officials said.
Two unmanned drones were seen above Miran Shah in north Waziristan minutes before missiles hit a factory in the town, they said, based on reports from witnesses.
Also yesterday, mourners in the Orakzai border region buried victims of a suicide bombing that targeted anti-Taliban tribesmen who were trying to evict militants from their area.
Government official Asghar Khan said authorities had counted at least 34 bodies from the Friday bombing, but as many as 25 other bodies may have been taken away by relatives.
Some media reports said the death toll from the attack was much higher.
Tensions continued in the region yesterday as tribesmen exchanged fire with Taliban militants.
US officials were not immediately available for comment on the missile strike in Miran Shah.
The US military is believed to have launched at least 11 missile strikes on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border since mid-August, killing more than 100 people, most of them alleged militants, according to an Associated Press count based on Pakistan intelligence numbers.
The United States rarely confirms or denies the attacks, which provoke anger among many Pakistanis.
Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters have established bases throughout Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal regions, where they are said to plan attacks on US and NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as violence in Pakistan.
US officials believe the area to be the hiding place of Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, among others.
Under US pressure, Pakistan has carried out military offensives against insurgents while also trying to woo various tribes to turn against extremists. But in recent weeks, the United States has signaled its impatience with Pakistani efforts.
Pakistan's military and civilian leaders have criticized the strikes as violations of their country's sovereignty. But they have not forcefully demanded that Washington stop them, leading to criticism from Muslim conservatives.