The tribal chiefs were expected to raise the issue of US raids in the border region after the first such attacks since the swearing-in of Barack Obama, the new US president, killed at least 19 people.

Dozens of similar attacks have been carried out since last August, killing civilians as well as armed fighters, and provoking considerable anger in the region.

Pakistan has complained that the attacks are a violation of the country's territory and undermine its efforts to tackle violence in the region, which has increased dramatically since the Taliban were forced from power in Afghanistan in 2001.

"The reports of attacks in North Waziristan and South Waziristan cause a considerable amount of anger because they embarrass the government in Islambad, which has been trying to assure its people its sovereignty will be respected," Hyder said.

Plea for more help

Against this backdrop of US raids, Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, told Britain's Financial Times newspaper that Islamabad needs more help from other nations to battle fighters in the border regions.

"You are fighting a war in Afghanistan with the most sophisticated weapons in the world and the whole world is pouring money into that," he was quoted as saying.
   
"When it comes to Pakistan, the world should understand that they have to build up the capacity of Pakistan too," Gilani said.

Pakistan's military is battling local and foreign fighters in the border regions, where attacks have killed more than 1,500 people in the last 19 months.