20 killed in suspected US missile strike in Pakistan

Monday, October 27, 2008

On Sunday, two attacks carried out by suspected missiles from unmanned US aircraft killed 20 militants near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in a militant camp, as reported by security officials.

Pakistan Afghan Border.

The death toll rose from seven to 20 as reported by military officials. Two missiles were dropped on the compound in the village of Badar. Military officials claim that South Wazirestan is the stronghold of Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

A senior Taliban commander, Haji Omar, was among those killed in missile strike. Three other Taliban commanders were injured.

Pakistani insurgents, initially staggered by the U.S. reaction to the September 11 attacks, have rebuilt their organizations in the border regions; from those havens, they launch attacks against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. The 80,000 to 120,000 Pakistani troops that have engaged the insurgents since 2003 have been funded by the United States at a cost of $1 billion a year. Despite the high cost, operations have been inconsistent and incomplete.

"Cross-border raids risk provoking direct confrontation between U.S. and Pakistani forces and could accelerate the growing dissension in military ranks over continued Pakistani alignment with the United States," said Marvin G. Weinbaum, a former State Department intelligence and research analyst on Pakistan and Afghanistan, in an editorial published in Monday's edition of The Washington Post.