Afghan rocket kills 14 in Pakistan

Fourteen people were killed and several other wounded when a rocket hit a home of a Pakistani family Friday. According to Pakistani officials, the rocket was launched from Afghanistan. The Afghan authorities, however, deny the allegation.

The attack follows a strike on a cleric's home elsewhere on the porous and often ill-defined border last Saturday that killed eight people, prompting a Pakistani protest to the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

Islamic militants from groups like al-Qaida, the Taliban and the militia of renegade Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are believed to be active in the area.

It was not immediately clear who launched Friday's attack. Pakistani security and army officials said just before midnight Thursday, a rocket hit a house in the village of Damadola in the Bajur tribal area, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) inside Pakistan.

Damadola lies about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Islamabad.

An army official, who declined to be named as he wasn't authorized to speak to the media, said the house belonged to Gul Zaman, a Bajur elder.

"Apparently, the rocket was fired from Afghanistan to target someone who was inside at the time, but residents say innocent people were killed and no terrorist was there," said the army official.

A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said 14 people had been killed in the attack and the house was destroyed. Several wounded were treated at a local hospital, he said.

In Kabul, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Mike Cody said he had no reports on the matter.

In Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, which borders Bajur, deputy provincial governor Noor Mohammed denied Pakistani allegations that the strike was launched from within Afghanistan.

"I have been in touch with all the security forces in Kunar and no one has heard about this," he said. "I don't think it's true the rocket came from within Afghanistan."

Mohammed Hasan, Kunar's deputy police chief, said he had not heard about the incident but added there were a number of militants armed with rockets and other weapons hiding along the border who were likely responsible.

Pakistani tribal elders claimed last week's air strike in the North Waziristan tribal region, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Bajur, was launched by American helicopters that then landed inside Pakistan and took away five tribesmen. The U.S. military denied it had bombed the area.

Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, says it does not allow Afghan or the 20,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan to operate on its soil.

Pakistan has placed about 70,000 of its own troops along its border with Afghanistan to weed out alleged al-Qaida and Taliban sympathizers and militants, AP reports.

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