p0609 BC-AS-Pakistan 6thLd-Writethru 11-07 0874
Pakistan says at least 13 killed in U.S. missile strike
A suspected U.S. missile targeting a Taliban commander killed 13 people near the Afghan border Friday, a sign that America’s new general for the region is not heeding Islamabad’s pleas for a halt to the strikes.
There has been a surge in U.S. cross-border attacks since August, angering Pakistani officials who say the raids violate the nuclear-armed country’s sovereignty and undermine its anti-terror war in the border region.
The latest attack took place in Kam Sam village in North Waziristan region, a stronghold for militants blamed for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan and suicide blasts within Pakistan.
A Pakistani intelligence official said an agent who visited the village reported that 13 suspected militants were killed. The official said the targeted house belonged to a Taliban commander and that authorities were working to determine the identities of the dead.
A government representative in the region also put the death toll at 13.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Friday’s attack was the first since the installation of Gen. David Petraeus as head of the U.S. Central Command on Oct. 31, giving him overall command of both the Iraq and Afghan wars.
Petraeus told The Associated Press in an interview in Afghanistan Thursday that the strikes had killed three "extremist leaders" in recent months. He did not identify them.
Pakistani leaders said they told Petraeus to stop the strikes when he visited the country earlier this week. He said he would "take on board" what they said, but gave no promise the attacks would stop.
Unmanned U.S. drones from Afghanistan are believed to have carried out at least 18 missile strikes since August in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area along the Afghan border, a possible hiding place for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida No.2 Ayman al-Zawahri.