Suspected US strikes 'kill 12' in Pakistan

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The Independent Online

Suspected US missiles hit buildings in two Pakistani villages close to the Afghan border today, intelligence officials said.

At least 12 people were killed, they reported, most of them alleged militants

The United States has launched a flurry of strikes against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban targets in northern Pakistan in recent weeks after complaining that Islamabad is unwilling or unable to eliminate the militants, straining ties between the two anti-terror allies.

The officials said two missiles believed to have been fired from American unmanned drones launched from neighboring Afghanistan hit two villages in the same district of north Waziristan just before dusk.

Chief Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said officers were investigating the reported strikes, but could not confirm them.

One attack in Mohamandkhel village killed at least 12 people, most of them alleged militants, the intelligence officials said, citing agents in the field. There were no reported casualties in the other strike in the village of Khata Kaly, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

US officials in Afghanistan or Washington rarely acknowledge the attacks.

Pakistan's military and civilian leaders have complained the missile attacks violate the country's sovereignty and anger the local population, making it harder to crack down on the extremists.

Militants on the Pakistan side of the border are blamed for a surge in attacks on US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, where violence is running at its highest level since the 2001 US

-led invasion toppled the Taliban.

The extremists are also blamed for rising attacks on US troops in Afghanistan and attacks within Pakistan, including the Sept. 20 truck bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed more than 50 people.

The U.N. reacted to that blast on Thursday by ordering the children of its international staff out of the city — putting it on a par with trouble spots such as Kabul, Afghanistan and Mogadishu, Somalia.

It said the move was temporary and would not affect its operations.

Britain announced Wednesday it was repatriating its diplomats' children and other countries may follow suit. Pakistan has long been a non-family posting for US diplomatic staff.

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