Oct 2, 2008

World - Another US Strike in Pakistan?

Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: Yet another missile strike by suspected U.S. drone in a Pakistani tribal region has killed at least six people.

The missile strike reportedly targeted the home of a militant commander near the North Waziristan town of Mir Ali late on Tuesday.

But the identities of the dead remain unclear. Many times in the past, such strikes have resulted in civilian casualties that in turn have increased anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.

The strike, the latest of several in September, came despite Pakistani assertions of its sovereignty and U.S. assurances that it respects Pakistani sentiments.

According to some reports, the missile strike came after shots were fired from the ground at the drones.

The strike came a day after the Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani reshuffled his top Generals, naming Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha to head the controversial Inter-Services Intelligence.

Pakistani newspapers welcomed the change. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban has denied reports on Pakistani television channels that its leader Beithullah Mehsud has died.

The television channels, quoting government sources, said the 36-year-old Mehsud who is based in South Waziristan, died after falling into a coma as a result of his worsening diabetic condition.

But Maulvi Omar, a spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group of militants that Mehsud heads, denied he had died.

He told BBC that Mehsud was “fit and well”.

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