Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani once again warned NATO that the unilateral air strikes into Pakistani territory were “counter-productive” today as the United States launched two drone strikes, in North and South Waziristan Agency, respectively, killing a total of 32 people.
The attack in North Waziristan is said to have targeted a “mid-level al-Qaeda leader” known as Abu Akash al-Iraqi. One Pakistani intelligence official said that he was believed to have been killed in the strike, though other officials cited local intelligence reports saying he was likely not one of the dead. That attack killed more than 20 people.
The other attack occurred just outside of the South Waziristan town of Wana, just a mile from a Pakistani Army base. Militants were among those reported killed, as were Ahmadzai Wazir tribesmen. The large, well-armed tribe last month threatened to take up arms against the US if the strikes continued. They have not yet responded to the latest attack.
Surprisingly, witnesses say the Pakistani military made no moves in response to the continued overflights or the strikes. The Pakistani Army has reportedly been ordered to retaliate against any incursions across the border. Last month, Pakistani forces opened fire on US helicopters attempting to cross into North Waziristan, sparking a five minute firefight between US and Pakistani ground troops. North Waziristan tribesmen, however, have reportedly fired on the drones over the past two days.
The increasing number of US strikes has strained relations between the US and Pakistan. Last month NATO attempted to distance themselves from the US strikes, saying that they would not participate in any “ground or air incursions” into Pakistan. Jack Straw, the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, also hit out at the attacks today, insisting that the United States respect Pakistan’s sovereignty by not launching attacks without prior consent.
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