NATO missile attack kills 15 in Pakistan’s tribal region

May 15th, 2008 - 4:40 am ICT by admin  

Islamabad, May 15 (DPA) At least 15 people were killed Wednesday when two missiles allegedly fired by NATO forces in Afghanistan targeted a suspected militant hideout in Pakistan’s tribal region, officials said. “The guided missiles hit the house of a local Taliban commander Maulvi Abdullah in Damadola area of Bajaur tribal district,” a security official said.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Abdullah’s brother was also killed in the bombing that demolished the compound.

According to local witnesses, NATO drones were seen flying in the area after the attack, the Aaj news channel reported.

Taliban fighters sealed the area immediately afterwards and were trying to pull out the dead bodied from under the rubble.

Tribal areas are safe havens for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants launching cross border assaults on NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan with the support of local tribal fighters, who also target Pakistani forces.

The new government in Islamabad started peace talks with the tribal rebels last month, raising concern in Washington and other NATO countries.

The Bajaur missile attack came hours after Islamic militants and the Pakistani government carried out a prisoners’ swap ahead of a formal peace deal between the sides in the neighboring tribal district of South Waziristan.

The authorities released 32 suspected militants in exchange for 12 security personnel seized from various areas of the North-West Frontier Province and the tribal region over the last six months, Aaj TV said.

A member of parliament from Bajaur, Engineer Shaukatullah, said the missile attack was a US attempt to disrupt the ongoing peace process in Pakistan’s tribal region.

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