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U.S. airstrikes draw ire from Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A U.S. missile strike Wednesday in Pakistan further inflamed relations between the two anti-terrorism allies, just hours after the American military chief vowed to “respect Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

The strike against suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal area, which runs along the Afghan border, is thought to be the sixth such attack this month. It came as Washington is demanding that Islamabad do more to prevent Taliban and al-Qaida extremists from using its territory.

Pakistani leaders have condemned the U.S. military interventions, which include the first documented American ground raid in the country earlier this month. The strikes have caused an uproar in Pakistan.

Four missiles were fired from unmanned U.S. aircraft Wednesday at a suspected militant hideout about 7 p.m. local time in a village in South Waziristan, killing at least six people, according to a local security official.

American strikes were used infrequently in the tribal area in the past, but there’s been an intensified bombardment over the last few weeks. Washington thinks that Taliban and al-Qaida fighters allied against the coalition in Afghanistan are using Pakistan’s tribal territory as a refuge. Some analysts think that the Bush administration is trying to land major al-Qaida scalps before the end of his term.


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