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Central & South Asia
'US raid' targets Pakistani village
Target in North Waziristan said to be the stronghold of a veteran Taliban commander.
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2008 05:11 GMT
North Waziristan is one of several tribal areas where the Taliban is said to enjoy strong local support  [AFP]

A suspected US drone has fired a missile into a Pakistani village, killing at least five tribesmen, residents say.

The strike, which took place early on Thursday, aimed at a stronghold of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a veteran Taliban commander.

The missile targeted a village in the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border where Haqqani, an old friend of Osama bin Laden, had established a madrasa or religious school.

"A large number of militants are rushing towards the area in vehicles," a Reuters witness said by telephone from Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.

Zardad Khan, a villager, later said four people were killed and three wounded in the attack.

"They were all local people," he said.

Previous attack

Twenty-three people, mostly relatives of Haqqani, were killed in a similar attack on the same village in September.

One of the sons of Haqqani had told Reuters that his father was in Afghanistan when the village was hit in September.

US forces, frustrated over growing cross-border attacks from the Pakistani side, have carried out around a dozen missile strikes and a commando raid in Pakistani tribal areas since the start of September.

A large number of fighters have been killed in these attacks but no senior al-Qaeda or Taliban commander is reported to have died so far.

Haqqani is a veteran of the US-backed Afghan war against the Soviet invasion in the 1970s and '80s and his extended family had been living in North Waziristan since then.

Haqqani's links with bin Laden go back to the late 1980s.

Taliban sources say he is in ill-health and his son, Sirajuddin, has been leading the Haqqani group.

Late on Wednesday, Pakistan's parliament called for a review of the nation's security strategy and talks with fighters who meet certain conditions.

But it stopped short of demanding a halt in its own military operations against pro-Taliban fighters.

'Historic moment'

The resolution was adopted during an unusual, closed-door, joint session of parliament called by the government.

"This is a historic moment for the country as the nation's representatives unanimously adopted a resolution," Sherry Rehman, the information minister, said.

"This will definitely help to improve the situation and to rid the country of the menace of terrorism."

The Pakistani army is engaged in two major offensives in the northwest - one in the Swat valley and one in the Bajaur tribal area.

The latter has killed more than 1,000 fighters, officials say.

Source:
Agencies
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