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Pakistani officials report deadly NATO strike

Latest update : 2008-09-03

At least fifteen people, including civilians, were killed in northwest Pakistan during a US military raid carried out from Afghanistan, local officials said Wednesday. NATO declared they were not immediately aware of such an operation.

WANA, Pakistan - At least 11 people, including women and children, were killed in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday in an attack a security official and a witness said was carried out by U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

The attack involving helicopters took place in the village of Angor Adda in the South Waziristan region, a known sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban militants, they said.

Pakistani military spokesmen, and U.S. military spokesmen in Afghanistan, were not immediately available for comment.

The United States says al Qaeda and Taliban militants are based in sanctuaries in northwest Pakistan’s ethnic Pashtun tribal areas on the Afghan border, where they orchestrate attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan and plot violence in the West.

There were differing accounts of the pre-dawn attack on Wednesday with some people saying it was carried out by helicopter gunships while others spoke of an attack by ground troops as well.

“Troops came in helicopters and carried out action in three houses at around 3 a.m. (2100 GMT),” said Gul Nawaz, a shopkeeper in the village.

Security and government officials put the death toll at 11 but residents of the village said it could be as high as 17.

U.S.-operated pilotless drone aircraft have launched attacks in Pakistani border regions several times this year, killing dozens of militants, but U.S. ground troops have not been known to cross into Pakistan to fight militants.

Pakistan is a staunch U.S. ally, even though the campaign against militancy is deeply unpopular with many people, but it rules out any encroachment by foreign soldiers onto its territory.

Date created : 2008-09-03

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