Pakistan reacts with fury after up to 20 die in 'American' attack on its soil

Simon Tisdall and Saeed Shah
London Guardian
Thursday, Sept 4, 2008

The war in Afghanistan spilled over on to Pakistani territory for the first time yesterday when heavily armed commandos, believed to be US Special Forces, landed by helicopter and attacked three houses in a village close to a known Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold.

The surprise attack on Jala Khel was launched in early morning darkness and killed between seven and 20 people, according to a range of reports from the remote Angoor Adda region of South Waziristan. The village is situated less than one mile from the Afghan border.

Local residents were quoted as saying that most of the dead were civilians and included women and children. It was not known whether any Taliban or al-Qaida militants or western forces were among the dead.

Furious official Pakistani condemnation of the attack followed swiftly, amid growing concern that the Nato-led war against the Taliban in Afghanistan could spread to Pakistan, sparking a region-wide conflagration.

Owais Ahmed Ghanisaid, the governor of North-West Frontier province, adjoining South Waziristan, said 20 people had died and called for retaliation. "This is a direct assault on the sovereignty of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan expect that the armed forces ... would rise to defend the sovereignty of the country and give a befitting reply," he said.

The foreign ministry in Islamabad termed the incursion "a gross violation of Pakistan's territory" and a "grave provocation" which, it said, had resulted in "immense" loss of civilian life.

Full article here

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