The United States has apparently made another missile strike deep inside Pakistan, this one killing six alleged militants. The missiles hit an area outside the semiautonomous tribal zone on the Afghan border and almost certainly will incur anger in Pakistan.
In the past, Pakistan has protested U.S./NATO missile attacks at targets inside its territory as violations of its sovereignty; however, the strikes continue, leading to speculation that there is a secret deal.
U.S. sources claim that Taliban and al-Qaeda Islamist extremists use hideouts in northwest Pakistan to plan attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan. To seek out and destroy these elements of Taliban and al-Qaeda, the United States—mainly through its CIA—allegedly has launched about 20 cross-border missile strikes since August.
U.S. officials rarely confirm or deny the strikes, however, Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, has defended them, saying that at least three top extremist leaders, whom he did not identify, have been killed in the attacks.