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Suspected US missile strike kills 27 in Pakistan

Posted on 09/30/2019 | in 苏州半永久 | by

The strike, among the deadliest yet, defied Pakistani government warnings that the tactic is fuelling extremism in the nuclear-armed Islamic nation.

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In an interview unrelated to the attack, President Asif Ali Zardari said the Taliban had expanded their presence to a “huge amount” of Pakistan and were even eyeing a takeover of the state.

“We\’re fighting for the survival of Pakistan. We\’re not fighting for the survival of anybody else,” Zardari said, according to a transcript of his remarks that CBS television said it would air on

Sunday.

Many Pakistanis believe the country is fighting Islamist militants, who have enjoyed state support in the past, only under pressure from Washington.

Remotely piloted US aircraft are believed to have launched more than 30 attacks since July, and American officials say al-Qaeda\’s leadership and ability to support the insurgency in Afghanistan has been significantly weakened. But Pakistani officials say the vast majority of the victims are civilians.

After Saturday\’s strike, Taliban fighters surrounded the flattened compound in the village of Shrawangai Nazarkhel and carried away the dead and wounded in several vehicles. The village is in South Waziristan, part of the tribally governed area along the Afghan frontier considered the likely redoubt of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The victims included about 15 ethnic Uzbek militants and several Afghans, said Pakistani intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media. The seniority of the militants was unclear.

Two of the officials said dozens of followers of Pakistan\’s top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, were staying in the housing compound when it was hit. There was no indication that Mehsud was present.

Pakistan\’s former government and the CIA have named Mehsud as the prime suspect behind the December 2007 killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Pakistani officials accuse him of harbouring foreign fighters, including Central Asians linked to al-Qaeda, and of training suicide bombers.

No independent verification

The accounts of Saturday\’s incident could not be verified independently. The tribally governed region is unsafe for reporters. The US Embassy had no comment, while Pakistan\’s army

spokesman was unavailable.

The new US administration has brushed off Pakistani criticism that the missile strikes fuel extremist and anti-American sentiment and undercuts the government\’s own counter insurgency strategy.

“The government is doing everything possible to stop it and I hope that America listens to the voice of the people of Pakistan,” Pakistan\’s Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said Saturday.

Yet, many analysts suspect Pakistan has quietly agreed to the attacks in order not to endanger billions of dollars in American and Western support for its powerful military and its ailing economy.

The pro-Western government in Islamabad, led by Bhutto widower Zardari, has signed peace deals with tribal leaders in the northwest while launching a series of military operations against hard-liners.

However, government forces are bogged down on several fronts in the northwest, and Taliban militants have sustained a campaign that has included a string of abductions and other attacks on foreigners.

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