Suspected US missile kills 10 in Pakistan

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A barrage of missiles believed fired from a U.S. unmanned plane destroyed a Taliban training camp on a mountain close to the Afghan border today, killing at least 10 insurgents, two intelligence officials said.

It was the second such attack in 24 hours in the South Waziristan tribal area, which is the stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and a rumored hiding place for top al-Qaida leaders.

Mehsud is also being targeted by the Pakistani army, which accuses him and his followers of being behind 90 percent of the terrorist attacks in the country in recent years.

Despite the apparent convergence of interests, the army insists the America missile attacks are hurting its attempts to kill or capture Meshsud because they alienate local tribesman they are trying to enlist in their campaign against him.

The suspected drone fired six missiles at the mountain top training camp in the Karwan Manza area of South Waziristan before dawn Wednesday, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

The nationality and the identity of the slain men were not immediately known.

The United States is believed to have launched more than 40 missile strikes against targets in the border area since last August, according to a count by The Associated Press. Washington does not directly acknowledge launching the missiles, which have killed civilians as well as militants and contributed to anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan.

The Pakistan government routinely protests the strikes as violation of the country's sovereignty and has publicly asked the United States to give them the technology to launch their own attacks. But many analysts suspect the government — which has received billions of dollars a year from the United States in aid since 2001 — secretly cooperates with them.