US fighters and artillery batteries struck inside Pakistan’s Khyber tribal agency, according to reports from the region. Seven people were reported killed and three were wounded in the strikes.
The strikes occurred after Taliban fighters attacked Afghan forces along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Zee News reported. US forces targeted the Taliban force as they crossed the border into the Tirah Valley in Khyber agency.
The Tirah Valley is home to the Lashkar-i-Islam, an extremist group that is run by Mangal Bagh. The Lashkar-i-Islam has been battling for control of the valley with the rival Ansarul Islam.
Bagh claims he does not support Baitullah Mehsud’s Taliban, nor does he oppose the Pakistani state. But he has carved out a Taliban-like state in Khyber, despite a military operation last year that was designed to relieve pressure on neighboring Peshawar.
The US military has chased and attacked Taliban forces while in “hot pursuit” across the border in to Pakistan several times since 2001. The US and Pakistan have agreed to a set of rules for hot pursuit: US forces must be engaged with the Taliban or al Qaeda as they cross into Pakistan; US forces should not penetrate more than 6 miles into Pakistani territory; and US could enter Pakistan if they have identified the location of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri, or Mullah Omar. Pakistan has denied the agreement exists and the US military refused to comment.
The most controversial incident occurred in the tribal agency of Mohmand in June of 2008.
US forces killed 11 Taliban fighters after they attacked US and Afghan troops in Kunar province. The Taliban fighters fled into Mohmand, and US forces struck with artillery and aircraft.
Pakistan claimed the 11 men killed were members of the Frontier Corps, the paramilitary security force that is raised from the tribal areas. But members of the Frontier Corps often fight alongside the Taliban to attack US forces in Afghanistan.
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