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U.S. missile strike kills 8 Taliban militants in Pakistan

dodging stone throwers: A Pakistani police officer evades stones thrown by protesters during clashes in the outskirts of Nowshera, near Peshawar, Pakistan, on Wednesday. Pakistani police fired assault rifles and tear gas to end a protest.

Associated Press

dodging stone throwers: A Pakistani police officer evades stones thrown by protesters during clashes in the outskirts of Nowshera, near Peshawar, Pakistan, on Wednesday. Pakistani police fired assault rifles and tear gas to end a protest.

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — A suspected U.S. missile attack killed eight militants including several foreigners Wednesday in the stronghold of Pakistan's top Taliban commander, intelligence officials said.

The strike came as President Barack Obama's administration prepares to unveil a new strategy to quell Islamist insurgents threatening nuclear-armed Pakistan as well as neighboring Afghanistan and to keep the pressure on al-Qaida leaders in the region.

American officials have indicated that attacks along Pakistan's unpoliced western frontier, apparently carried out by unmanned CIA aircraft and stepped up since last year, will continue despite protests from the Pakistani government.

Wednesday's strike damaged two vehicles near Makeen, a town in the South Waziristan tribal region that borders Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence officials said. Citing informants and intercepted militant communications, they said four of the dead were foreigners who had been riding in a pickup truck near a small bridge.

Four local militants also died, while three more were injured, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly to the media. Reporters cannot verify reports from the area because authorities and militants limit access.

Makeen is the base of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistan's own Taliban movement. There was no immediate indication that he or any other senior militant figure was in either of the two vehicles targeted Wednesday.

Bombs kill 10 Afghan civilians

A roadside bomb killed 10 civilians Wednesday in a van along a route used by foreign troops in eastern Afghanistan while another wounded three Australian troops. The civilians were on a road in eastern Khost province that is also used by foreign and Afghan troops, a police official said. He blamed Taliban militants for planting the bomb. The Australian troops were wounded Tuesday while on patrol with Afghan soldiers in southern Uruzgan province, the Australian Defense Department said.

Iran to attend: Iran has accepted an invitation to a conference on Afghanistan next week that also will be attended by the United States. The invitation is seen as part of Washington's policy of greater engagement with the Islamic republic.

U.S. missile strike kills 8 Taliban militants in Pakistan 03/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 11:22pm]
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