Suspected U.S. drone hits militant nest in Pakistan
PARACHINAR, Pakistan (Reuters) At least a dozen people were killed in Pakistan's Kurram tribal region on the Afghan border on Monday when a suspected U.S. drone fired missiles at a building used by militants, witnesses and officials said.
"Afghan Taliban were holding an important meeting there when the missiles were fired," an intelligence official in the area said of the attack in a mountainous region called Sarpul, on the outskirts of Baggan village. The attack was the first in the Kurram tribal region and came two days after a missile strike in the South Waziristan tribal region killed at least 25 mostly Central Asian fighters believed to have al Qaeda-links.
Abdul Rahim, a cleric in Sarpul, said he saw around 15 bodies pulled out from the rubble and 20 wounded, though there was no other corroboration immediately available and Taliban militants surrounded the area. He said he saw two missiles fired.
Kurram's top administrator, Arshad Majeed Mohmand, confirmed the strike and said according to his information three missiles were fired, but he had no details about the casualties. It was not immediately known if there were any senior Taliban or al Qaeda figures among the dead.
The building that was hit was formerly used by Afghan refugees' children, but militants moved in around two years ago, according to villagers. "A drone is still flying in the area and smoke can be seen over the area where the missiles struck," said a paramilitary official, also requesting anonymity.
This was the fourth attack since U.S. President Barack Obama took office last month, showing there was no change in policy since the last year of the Bush administration, when attacks by pilotless aircraft against militant targets on Pakistani territory were ramped up.
Posted by: tu3031 2009-02-16