MIRAMSHAH, March 13: Pakistan lodged a protest with coalition forces in Afghanistan on Thursday after two Pakistani women and two children were killed by US fire from across the border, the army said.

The US-led coalition confirmed that it had launched a ‘precision guided’ strike on Pakistani territory but said it targeted a militant compound.

The issue of foreign military intervention in Pakistan is sensitive with President Pervez Musharraf saying earlier this year that unauthorised actions would be treated as an invasion.

Chief military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said coalition artillery fire destroyed the victims’ house in North Waziristan.

“The coalition forces were firing at a group of militants when five shells landed in Pakistan, destroying a house and killing two women and two children,” Gen Abbas told AFP.

“We have lodged a very strong protest with the coalition forces across the border,” he said.

Local officials said the house in the town of Lwara Mundi belonged to a local tribesman.

In Kabul, a spokesman for the US-led coalition said it could not comment directly on the Pakistani account but confirmed it had launched a strike on the other side of the porous 2,500km frontier.

“We can confirm a precision-guided ammunition strike on March 12 on a compound connected with Haqqani network 1.5 kilometres across the border in Pakistan,” coalition spokesman Major Chris Belcher told AFP.

The Haqqani network refers to militants led by Taliban commander Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is allegedly based in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

“I do not have any information on any casualties that may have occurred,” the spokesman said.

Maj Belcher said that: “The information I have is that the government of Pakistan was notified immediately following the strike.

“It is not the first time that they (coalition forces) have had to respond to an imminent threat across the border in Pakistan. Every time we do, we clear that with Pakistani authorities.”

Maj Belcher said the US-led force had “credible, reliable intelligence” of a militant threat that led to the strike.

Several previous missile strikes in the region have been attributed to the US, including one that killed senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Laith al-Libi in North Waziristan in January.—Agencies

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