Thursday, October 23, 2008
9 dead in suspected U.S. missile strike
By Munir Ahmad - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Oct 23, 2008 7:46:13 EDT
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Suspected U.S. missiles struck a Taliban-linked school in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing nine people in an apparent sign of Washington’s frustration with the country’s anti-terror efforts, intelligence officials said.
The strike came hours after Parliament warned against any incursions on Pakistani soil in a resolution that also condemned the wave of terrorism tearing at the country, while stressing the need for dialogue.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is also in the midst of an economic crisis brought on by high fuel prices, dwindling foreign investment, soaring inflation and militant violence.
The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that Pakistan had requested its help to avoid a possible loan default, a decision that could cost the administration political support at home.
Shaukat Tareen, the Pakistani official leading the fundraising effort, said Thursday the country urgently needed up to $5 billion. He said the government still hoped to get it from donors such as the World Bank and avoid the need to tap the IMF.
The suspected U.S. missiles hit the religious school on the outskirts of Miran Shah, the main town in the militant-infested North Waziristan region, four intelligence officials said. The school was not believed to have any students in it at the time of the attack.
Relying on informants and agents in the area, two officials said nine people were killed, including four pulled lifeless from the rubble hours after the strike, and two others were wounded.
The religious school belonged to a local pro-Taliban cleric, the intelligence officials said. The cleric has been linked to veteran Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, considered a top foe of the U.S., they said.
The intelligence officials gave the information on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Militants in the northwest are blamed for rising attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan, as well as surging suicide attacks within Pakistan.
The cross-border missile attacks have angered many Pakistani lawmakers and the pro-U.S. government has protested them as violations of the country’s sovereignty
Posted by Steve Douglass at 5:52 AM