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Missile Attack Targets Suspected Militant Hideout in Pakistan

By VOA News
12 March 2009

A missile believed to be fired from a U.S. pilotless drone aircraft hit a suspected militant hideout in Pakistan Thursday, killing at least 12 people.

Witnesses and officials reported the missile attack in the Kurram tribal region in western Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. Reports from the region quote unnamed Pakistani officials as saying the destroyed house was believed to be used as a training camp for Taliban militants.

The United States has launched a series of missile strikes on al-Qaida, Taliban and other militant targets in Pakistan's tribal border region since last year. The Pakistani government has condemned the strikes as a violation of its territorial sovereignty.

Pakistan is under intense international pressure to fight a growing Islamic insurgency and to rid itself of the Taliban and other militant groups believed to be based in the country's lawless tribal regions.

Earlier Thursday, security officials reported killing 18 militants during a military operation in Mohmand tribal region.

The area is just south of Bajaur, where some of the heaviest fighting has taken place between security forces and Islamic militants. This week, Pakistani officials signed a peace deal with tribal leaders in Bajaur who agreed to disband armed groups and stop harboring foreign militants.

Last month, a similar deal was made with militant leaders in the nearby Swat Valley, once a renowned tourist destination. The deal allows the imposition of Islamic law, or Sharia, in exchange for a promise from militants to end their insurgency.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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