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Saturday, 11 May, 2002, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Pakistan rocket attack on US troops
Tribal leaders and their followers in Miran Shah demonstrate against US military presence
The local residents are furious about the presence of US troops
A rocket has been fired at a vocational school in Pakistan where US special forces were believed to be staying as they continue their search for al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters, a local official said.

The rocket missed its target and no-one was hurt, but it was the second time in two weeks that the building in the semi-autonomous tribal region near the Afghan border has come under rocket attack.

Seven American soldiers have been sleeping at the school in Miranshah in North Waziristan as they carry out their mission alongside Pakistani forces.

The BBC's correspondent in Islamabad, Susannah Price, says Pakistani tribesman have vowed to continue their campaign against American military personnel who enter the border areas.

Timed device

The attack took place at 2225 (1625 GMT) on Friday and a second rocket, with a timing device set to go off at 0225 on Saturday, was found, the local official said.

The US personnel had earlier watched a traditional Katthak dance on the lawn of a nearby fort.

The first rocket hit a sports complex about 200 metres from the school and the second device was defused by security forces.

US and allied forces operate close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders
It had been denied that US forces were in the area
The rocket used in the attack on the building on 1 May also missed its target and caused no casualties.

US-led coalition forces are combing the area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Taleban members who might have slipped across the border.

Pakistan says a small number of US troops are helping its forces in "communications and intelligence gathering" in the tribal areas.

But their arrival in an area usually off limits even to the Pakistani army has provoked anger amongst the local tribesmen.

Vow to fight

Tribal elders and religious leaders say a joint team of Pakistani and American troops raided a madrasa, or religious school, last month - a move which sparked fury.

During a meeting armed volunteers from various tribes said they would fight anyone who attempted to enter their religious schools.

Until recently Pakistan's authorities had denied that US troops were operating in the region.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said co-operation with the Americans was restricted to fighting on the other side of the border and some US personnel in Pakistan involved in communications.

This is an extremely sensitive subject for President Musharraf. He offered the American-led coalition full co-operation following the events of 11 September.

But even allowing the Americans to use Pakistani air bases to launch search-and-rescue operations led to demonstrations.

See also:

11 May 02 | South Asia
Musharraf confirms US troops in action
27 Apr 02 | South Asia
US forces 'join Pakistani raid'
14 Dec 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's tribal frontiers
14 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Pakistan
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