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First drone attack in Orakzai Agency kills 12.

PESHAWAR (PAN): A dozen terror suspects were killed and several others wounded as a US drone attacked their base with missiles in the Orakzai tribal region, lying close to the militancy-haunted border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Wednesday morning. One intelligence official, confirming the latest drone strike inside Pakistan, confided to Pajhwok Afghan News that a Taliban training centre was pounded in the remote Khadizai village, some 15 miles northeast of the Hangu district.

It was the first drone attack in Orakzai Agency, he claimed. Al-Qaeda operatives also frequented the insurgent base, according to the official, who did not want to be named. At least a dozen fighters, including foreigners, were killed and 16 others injured in the missile strike on the camp, the sleuth added.

Two missiles were slammed into the rebel headquarters, which a local Taliban leader described as a guest camp. Speaking to this news agency over the telephone from the area, he said the site had been cordoned off by fighters. He, however, gave no casualty figure. There was a big bang that brought people out of homes this morning. Immediately after the raid, Taliban rushed to the scene and shifted the dead and injured (to hospital), Khadizai resident Farooq Shah said. As of noon, he continued, the rebels were still at the site.

Despite angry protests from its key ally in the anti-terror war, the US continues with attacks by pilotless aircraft on terrorist bases in the inhospitable tribal region. Around 340 people, including al-Qaeda figures, have been killed in more than 35 drone hits in Pakistan since August last year.

Wednesdays attack came shortly before a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in Ankara. The two leaders conferred on the security situation in the region and issues of mutual importance including intelligence sharing between the two countries. Also discussed at the meeting, held prior to a trilateral summit, were ways and means of dealing with the twin scourge of terrorism and extremism. In order to resolve the problem, the presidents underlined the need for a regional approach to the menace.

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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Date:Apr 2, 2009
Words:366
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