WANA / ISLAMABAD, Sept 17: Hours after the American military commander had assured Pakistan’s political and military leadership that the United States would respect the country’s sovereignty, missiles were fired from US drones on a house in South Waziristan, killing six people and injuring three others.
The unmanned aircraft which entered the tribal area from Afghanistan fired four missiles on the house in a village near Angoor Adda which is close to an allied forces’ base across the border. The same area had recently experienced an attack by US commandos.
Before the missile strike, media reports were focusing on a meeting between Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, where the admiral reiterated the US commitment not to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. Admiral Mullen had arrived in Islamabad on an unannounced visit on Tuesday.Wednesday’s missile attack was 14th by US predators in the tribal agency.
A security official in Peshawar said: “We don’t know who were killed. But there are reports that some of them were low-profile foreigners… nobody of any significance.”
The sources said the drone fired missiles on the house in the Baghar Cheena village, about two kilometres east of Angoor Adda and 30 kilometres west of Wana.
The sources said that the house belonged to supporters of pro-government militant ‘commander’ Maulvi Nazir.
The missile attack also destroyed a container of arms and ammunition.
An APP report about the Islamabad meeting quoted officials as saying that Prime Minister Gilani and the US commander had discussed measures to defuse tension between the two countries.
According to a statement issued by the US embassy, Admiral Mullen acknowledged the positive role Pakistan was playing in the war on terror and pledged continued US support. He reiterated the commitment to develop cooperation and coordination with Pakistan on critical issues that challenged the security and wellbeing of the people of both countries.
“The conversations were extremely frank, positive and constructive,” the statement said.
The progress of Pakistan’s efforts to combat militancy, violence and terrorism was also discussed. Officials said the two sides discussed the military operations in the region bordering Afghanistan and ways of making them more result-oriented.
Agencies add: A Pakistani official said the attack on a container loaded with ammunition and explosives was the result of better US-Pakistani intelligence sharing and both countries had worked together on the attack.
The missile strike came at dusk. Three of the dead were Arabs, according to a Pakistani intelligence officer who declined to be identified.
Intelligence officials said the missiles had hit a compound used by Taliban militants and Hezb-i-Islami.
They said informants in the area had reported that six people were dead and three more wounded. Their identities were not immediately clear.