ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Several missiles fired from U.S. drone aircraft Thursday struck a meeting of local people in northwest Pakistan who had gathered with Taliban mediators to settle a dispute over a chromite mine. The attack, a Pakistani intelligence official said, killed 26 of 32 people present, some of them Taliban fighters, but the majority elders and local people not attached to the militants.
Militants on Monday launched their fourth assault in a week on strategic targets across Pakistan, this time with a suicide car bombing against a military vehicle in a crowded market in the northwest, killing 41 people and wounding dozens more.
Two months after the Pakistani army wrested control of the Swat Valley from Taliban militants, a new campaign of fear has taken hold, with scores, perhaps hundreds, of bodies dumped on the streets in what human rights advocates and local residents say is the work of the military.
War has come to Pakistan, not just as terrorist bombings, but as full-scale battles, leaving Pakistanis angry and dismayed as the dead, wounded and displaced turn up right on their doorstep.
Two tribal elders lay stretched out in an orthopedic ward here last week, their plastered limbs and winces of pain grim evidence of the slaughter they survived when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the midst of their tribal gathering.