MIRAMSHAH, June 23: A barrage of artillery and missiles fired from Afghanistan hit residential compounds and a hotel in Mangrotai area of the North Waziristan tribal region on Friday night, killing 11 people and wounding 10 others, eyewitnesses and officials said. The dead included two children and a woman.

In another incident, three paramilitary personnel were killed and two others injured in a roadside blast near Mirali town of the troubled region on Saturday, officials said.

The Associated Press quoted a statement of the Nato and US-led forces as saying that 60 insurgents were killed near the border with Pakistan in what was described as the insurgents crossing the region.

Militants attacked Afghan and alliance troops late Friday in Barmal district of the Paktika province. Nato forces returned fire, killing about 60 fighters, the statement said.

It said Nato forces had launched an operation in Barmal against ‘insurgents’ near the Pakistan border on Friday night and several artillery shells landed in the Mangrotai area, Shawal, covered with thick forests.

The area lies astride the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and a large number of people possess Pakistani nationality.

Reacting to the incident, Pakistan Army spokesman Maj-Gen Waheed Arshad said that an explanation had been sought from the US-led forces in Kabul. He said that several rockets hit houses in the area, killing 10 civilians and wounding 14 others.

“Our security forces in the area did not respond to the coalition forces’ action,” Gen Arshad said.

A US commander Col Martin P. Schweitzer said in a statement that some munitions fired in the clash might have landed over the border in Pakistan, but insisted his forces targeted “bad guys”.

“These individuals clearly had weapons and used them against our aircraft as well as shooting rockets against our positions. This required their removal from the battle-space,” Schweitzer said.

An official said that 18 artillery shells and six missiles landed in the Pakistani side and hit a hotel and seven houses in the border area, some 50km west of Miramshah. Residents said that Nato helicopter gunships also violated Pakistani airspace in the troubled region.

According to eyewitnesses, 11 people were killed in the artillery fire. One of the artillery shells hit a house in the area, killing two children and one woman, and wounding 10 others. A small hotel was also damaged in the attack.

The officials said that artillery rounds also landed near observation posts of the Frontier Corps.

ROADSIDE BLAST: A roadside explosion near Mirali in the restive North Waziristan Agency killed three paramilitary soldiers and wounded two others, officials said.

They said that a team of paramilitary forces was on a routine patrol when their vehicle hit an explosive device on the Mirali-Miramshah road in Karamkot area.



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