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Missile strike kills 12

August 22, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A U.S. missile strike targeted a Taliban commander blamed for masterminding ambushes on American troops in Afghanistan, the latest assault by unmanned aircraft in northwestern Pakistan, intelligence officials said.

It was unclear whether Siraj Haqqani, who also has close ties to Al Qaeda, was among the 12 people killed in the house in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, the officials said.

Siraj is the son of senior Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, who was supported by U.S. and Pakistani aid when he fought in the 1980s against Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan. Now, American commanders count him as a dangerous foe. Both father and son are alleged to have helped funnel foreign Islamist fighters into Afghanistan.

The airstrike was the third in three weeks. A drone is believed to have killed Pakistan's most-wanted militant, Baitullah Mahsud, on Aug. 5.

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