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Two U.S. missile strikes kill 17 in Pakistan, sources say

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Pakistan military's top spokesman calls attacks "counterproductive"
  • NEW: Ex-Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf says public against such attacks
  • Strikes would be the first since President Obama took office
  • Attacks occur in Pakistan's ungoverned tribal region along Afghan border
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Seventeen people were killed Friday evening in two U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal region, said one government and two military officials.

They are the first such strikes since President Obama took office Tuesday.

Both hits were near the Afghan border, said local political official Nasim Dawar. The Pakistani military sources asked not to be named because they are not authorized to release such information.

The first strike, which killed 10 people, occurred about 5:15 p.m. (7:15 a.m. ET) in a village near Mir Ali in North Waziristan, the officials said. Seven people died in the second hit at 7:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) near Wana, the major town in South Waziristan, 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Afghanistan, they said.

There has been no immediate response from U.S. officials.

The Pakistan military's top spokesman called the attacks, which he said were by pilotless drones, "counterproductive," because they undercut his country's efforts to oust militants from the ungoverned tribal areas.

"It helps us in no way conducting our operations," Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told CNN. "We are trying to create to wean away the tribe at large from the militant component of the tribe. But it diminishes the line which divides the militant component and the tribe at large."

Abbas said, "We face much more difficulty as a result of drone strikes, and we have conveyed our position on that" to the United States.

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, interviewed on CNN's "The Situation Room," repeated that public opinion in his country is strongly against the strikes on Pakistan territory. Video Watch Musharraf's exclusive interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer »

Musharraf was asked whether he is comfortable with the continuation of the attacks, even with a new U.S. president in place.

"As far as this issue of the new president, President Obama, having taken over and this continuing ... I've always been saying that policies don't change with personalities.

"Policies have national interests, and policies depend on an environment."

The former leader added that he believes the environment and national interests of the United States" are the same.

North and South Waziristan are among seven districts in Pakistan's ungoverned tribal region, where the Taliban and other militants have sought haven.

The region has seen a sharp spike in the number of aerial attacks by unmanned drones on what are believed to be Taliban targets. The United States has the only military with drones operating in the area.

In 2008, there were 30 suspected U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan, based on a CNN count.


On New Year's Day, two top al Qaeda terrorists were killed by a U.S. missile strike against a building in northern Pakistan, according to two senior U.S. officials.

The men, both Kenyans, were on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list, one of the officials said, and were believed to have been responsible for the September suicide bombing at an Islamabad hotel.

CNN's Reza Sayah contributed to this report.

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