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Central & South Asia
'US missiles' hit Pakistan village
Attack comes as senior US commander meets Pakistani officials over cross-border strikes.
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2008 04:34 GMT
 

Suspected US drones have fired missiles at a village in Pakistan's South Waziristan province near the Afghan border, killing five people, officials said.

"Four missiles were fired by suspected US drones in Baghar Cheena area in the restive South Waziristan on Wednesday evening," a senior security official said.

AFP news agency quoted an unidentified security official as saying that five people including foreigners were killed when the missiles hit a compound.

Baghar, a village in the mountains 55km west of Wana, the main town in the region, is close to Angor Adda, the border village that was raided by US commandos on September 3.

Another Pakistani official told Reuters that the strikes were the result of intelligence sharing between Pakistan and the US.

"It shows improving intelligence co-ordination on the ground," the official said.

US-Pakistan talks

The attacks came as Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, met General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s most senior army officer, and Yousuf Raza Gilani, the country's prime minister, in Islamabad on Wednesday to pledge his "commitment to respect Pakistan's sovereignty".

A US embassy statement also said Mullen wants to "develop further US-Pakistani co-operation and co-ordination on these critical issues that challenge the security and well-being of the people of both countries".

Admiral Mullen held talks with
the Pakistani PM and the army chief [EPA]
"The conversations were extremely frank, positive, and constructive," the US embassy said.

Mullen "appreciated the positive role that Pakistan is playing in the war on terror and pledged continued US support to Pakistan," the embassy statement said.

Sources say Pakistani officials told Mullen that unilateral cross-border raids by US ground forces based in Afghanistan would not deal a blow to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

"Such raids will be a setback to our efforts against the militants' network," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP news agency.

Border protection

Kayani had previously said that Pakistani armed forces would protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity "at all cost".

Major-General Athar Abbas, a Pakistani military spokesman, said that Pakistan would seek to guard its borders.

"We have repeatedly said we will defend our territory and we reserve the right to retaliate in case of any aggression," Abbas said on Wednesday.

Robert Gates, the US defence minister, said in the Afghan capital Kabul that the US will co-operate with Pakistan in an attempt to crack down on Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in the border areas.

He said that recent Pakistani military operations against fighters in the tribal areas were encouraging.

Source:
Agencies
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