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US drone strike kills two in northwest Pakistan
by Staff Writers
Miranshah, Pakistan (AFP) Nov 29, 2013

Karzai accuses US of halting military supplies over pact row
Kabul (AFP) Dec 01, 2013 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday accused the United States of halting essential supplies to some Afghan army and police units in order to pressure the country to quickly sign a key security pact.

The interruption of fuel and equipment had occurred "two or three times", according to a statement issued by the presidential office following a meeting of the national security council, attended by Karzai.

As a result of the interruptions, the affected units had "ceased their operations", according to the statement, adding Washington had violated its commitments in these areas.

"The council considered the cutting of fuel and supportive services to army and police as a means of pressure by the US government so that Afghanistan ignores its conditions in the BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement) and signs it with the US," the statement said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force later issued a statement denying Karzai's allegations.

"There has been no stoppage in the delivery of requested fuel and we continue to process all orders as soon as they are received from the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces).

"We remain committed to supporting our ANSF partners and will continue to do so."

The pact is aimed at defining the terms of the US military presence on Afghan soil after the withdrawal of 75,000 NATO troops at the end of 2014.

While the US is seeking to wrap up the accord before the end of the year, Karzai has indicated his country would sign after next year's presidential elections in April.

The prospect of delaying the pact has exasperated the US, which has threatened to withdraw all its troops, raising fears the country may be unable to control violence by Taliban insurgents.

A US drone strike targeting a militant compound killed at least two suspected insurgents in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border on Friday, officials said.

The strike took place in the Anghar area, 10 kilometres (six miles) south of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal region, a stronghold for Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.

"A US drone fired two missiles on a militant compound, killing two suspected militants and wounding two others," a senior security official told AFP.

Another security official also confirmed the attack and casualties that took place after midnight (1900 Thursday GMT).

The identities of those killed in the strike were not immediately known but they appeared to be of Central Asian origin, the official said.

A third security official in Miranshah said two Taliban fighters were wounded in the fresh attack and were identified as "Punjabi Taliban", from Pakistan's central Punjab province.

"One of them, Aslam alias Yaseen, is linked with attacks on Pakistan army headquarters in Rawalpindi and another attack on (the) naval base in Karachi," the security official told AFP.

In May 2011, a group of heavily armed militants besieged Pakistan's naval air base in Karachi, destroying two US-made P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, an attack that took 17 hours to repel and left 10 military personnel dead.

That assault deeply embarrassed the military, coming three weeks after US special forces killed Osama bin Laden under their noses in a garrison town, and was the deadliest on a base since the army headquarters was attacked in October 2009.

Last week a US drone attack on a seminary linked to the feared Haqqani militant network in Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest killed at least six people.

The attack, which militant sources said killed the Haqqanis' spiritual leader along with five others, was extremely unusual in that it was mounted outside Pakistan's lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border.

North Waziristan is one of Pakistan's seven semi-autonomous tribal regions which Washington considers to be a major hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

The government criticises drone strikes as a violation of sovereignty and counterproductive to anti-terror efforts. But ties with Washington have nevertheless improved this year after lurching from crisis to crisis in 2011 and 2012.

Last month the US announced it would release $1.6 billion in aid and Washington's support was seen as important in Pakistan securing a $6.7 billion rescue loan from the International Monetary Fund in September.


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