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US says it shelled target in Pakistan

November 19, 2008
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KABUL, Afghanistan - US troops in Afghanistan launched a barrage of artillery at insurgents attacking their position from inside Pakistan's volatile tribal region, in a cross-border strike coordinated with Pakistan's military, US and NATO officials said yesterday.

The strike less than a mile inside Pakistan came after the militants fired rockets at a US position in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda and Taliban militants have long found refuge in the border region, where they launch attacks on US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Sunday's operation highlights growing cooperation between Afghan, Pakistani, and US officers, military officials said.

Coordination meetings have resumed between Afghan, Pakistani, and US officers, while the United States has deployed extra troops to help seal the border as Pakistan's military conducts an offensive against militants in Bajur, an unruly tribal area that is a rumored hiding place of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

In a separate attack today, Pakistani intelligence officials say,a suspected US missile strike reportedly killed at least four suspected militants in northwest Pakistan. The two officials said the strike occurred just after dawn in Bannu, a settled region in Pakistan just outside the tribal areas. The tribal regions have borne the brunt of a surge in the missile attacks, so the strike in Bannu was unusual.

On Sunday, US troops in the Bermel area in Afghanistan's eastern Paktika province fired 20 rounds into Pakistan after insurgents across the border launched the rockets at their outpost, officials said.

The barrage hit nearly 1,200 feet inside Pakistan, said a NATO spokesman, who requested anonymity in line with NATO regulations. A secondary explosion where the artillery barrage was directed indicated the site contained additional munitions, a NATO statement said.

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