A missile attack near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, believed to have been carried out by a U.S. drone aircraft, killed at least eight people Sunday, Pakistani officials said.

The strike, the first of its kind since a high-level Pakistani military delegation visited the United States last week, suggested that the Obama administration intends to press ahead with a campaign of targeting militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.

The two missiles fired Sunday hit a compound near the Sara Rogha area of South Waziristan. The area is a stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistan's Taliban movement.

Local and intelligence officials said at least some of those killed in the strike were "foreigners" -- the term usually meant to describe militants from Central Asia or Arab countries who are suspected of having links to Al-Qaida.

Drone attacks in the tribal areas intensified during the last months of the Bush administration. About 30 such strikes were carried out in the last half of 2008.

Pakistan has publicly protested the raids, but it is widely believed that the civilian government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, sanctions them.


A suspected separatist group holding an American U.N. worker in Pakistan said Sunday that it would kill him in four days if the government did not release more than 1,000 prisoners.

The threat on the life of John Solecki was made in a letter sent to the local Online International News Network. U.N. spokeswoman Maki Shinohara said the agency was aware of the threat and "took it seriously."

Gunmen seized Solecki on Feb. 2 after killing his driver in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta in Baluchistan Province. The previously unknown Baluchistan Liberation United Front claimed responsibility.


Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said President Obama listened extensively to the U.S. military leadership and commanders in Iraq before announcing last week that the combat mission there would end in August 2010. Mullen, interviewed Sunday by Fox News and CNN, said he is comfortable with the plan.

Under it, the 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq would be drawn down to between 35,000 and 50,000 by the 2010 date. All forces would be withdrawn by the last day of 2011.


Afghan President Hamid Karzai's call to suddenly move up elections from August to May 22 drew cries of sabotage Sunday from political opponents.

The spokesman for the National Front, a group of opposition lawmakers, said it would be impossible to hold elections in the spring because of security, logistical and financial issues. He called Karzai's move an attempt to sabotage the vote. A government spokesman said Saturday that Karzai issued the decree after a series of discussions with the Supreme Court.