Deaths in Pakistan 'Drone' Attacks
Sixteen people reportedly killed by missiles fired by suspected US drones in North Waziristan
Missiles fired by suspected US drones in Pakistan's North Waziristan province have killed 16 people, sources say.
In the first raid on Saturday, nine people were reportedly
killed after missiles hit a house in the Datta Khel area, close to the
Seven others were killed in another raid in the same region later in the day.
Datta Khel has been the scene of several US raids on Taliban and
al-Qaeda fighters and their local supporters who are accused of
targeting Nato and US forces in Afghanistan.
Over the past five weeks, the US is believed to have launched at
least 22 missile attacks in Pakistani territory. Western officials have
said some of the drone attacks have been aimed at disrupting a "terror
plot" against European cities.
A surge in missile strikes together with Nato operations along the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border suggests Western forces are cracking down on
fighters who easily move between the porous boundary.
Though Pakistan has officially condemned the drone raids, some say Islamabad secretly provides intelligence for them.
The raids are deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public due to the civilian casualties they have caused.
"The government, on the other hand, is heavily dependent on the
Americans and cannot afford to lose that ally," Al Jazeera's Kamal
Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said.
"So while they're condemning it [drone attacks], they are in a way
giving an agreement to the Americans to continue. Otherwise the
Pakistani military would be at least attempting to shoot down the
Public outrage has also risen over recent Nato incursions from across
the Afghan border. It hit a peak on Thursday, when two Nato helicopters
crossed into Kurram tribal region and killed three Pakistani
paramilitary soldiers they believed were firing at them from the ground.
In apparent retaliation for the killings, Pakistan has cut off a key
US and Nato supply line on its soil. On Saturday, about 150 lorries were
still waiting for Pakistan to reopen the border crossing at Torkham so
they could deliver their supplies to Western troops in Afghanistan.