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Rocket Attack Targets U.S. Forces

From Associated Press

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- For the second time in two weeks, a rocket was fired at U.S. Special Forces soldiers hunting Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, but it missed, a local official said Saturday.

The target was a vocational school in Miran Shah, where about seven Americans are thought to be bunking while working with Pakistani troops in the semiautonomous tribal region. U.S. officials have not confirmed the soldiers’ presence at the building.

Meanwhile, 36 Afghans on Saturday became the first of about 600 refugees scheduled to return home from Indonesia after they failed to attain asylum in Australia.

In addition, about 200 Pakistanis captured in Afghanistan while fighting alongside the Taliban were sent back to their country.

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official in Miran Shah said two rocket launchers had been hooked up with timers and aimed at the school. The launchers were found in woods less than half a mile from the building.

The first rocket was fired late Friday and hit a sports complex 150 to 200 yards from the school, causing little damage and no injuries, he said. The second was set to fire early Saturday but was defused by authorities, he said.

The official said it was not known who was behind the attack.

Early on May 1, a rocket was fired at the same school but struck a building about 300 yards away. No one was hurt in that attack, the first time U.S. forces came under fire since they began operating with Pakistani troops in the region several weeks ago.

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The arrival of U.S. Special Forces in the frontier area has provoked protests from the fiercely independent tribesmen, whose region generally has been off-limits even to the Pakistani army. The area has been a stronghold of support for Osama bin Laden, and its religious schools supplied Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban with recruits.


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