U.S.-led air attacks on terrorist sites in Afghanistan have killed at least 20 members of a militant pro-Taleban Islamic group based in neighboring Pakistan. The organization allegedly has links with suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.
The militants of Pakistan-based Harkat ul-Mujahideen were killed in an overnight raid on targets in the Afghan capital, Kabul. They were holding a meeting in a house in the city when attack took place.
A spokesman for the organization says that bodies of eight militants were smuggled into Pakistan Wednesday after border guards refused to allow them entry.
Those killed in the attack are said to have traveled from Pakistan to Afghanistan to help Taleban forces in their fight against the United States. Harkat ul-Mujahideen as been on the U.S. State Department's terrorist list because of its ties with Osama bin Laden.
A spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, Riaz Mohammad Khan, told reporters that his country has no knowledge about Pakistanis being killed in Afghanistan. He insisted that Pakistan has been urging the Taleban rulers not to allow volunteers from Pakistan to be trained in Afghanistan. "We had also been requesting the Afghan government to try to apprehend and hand over a large number of people who are indicted by our courts, who are absconders and who according to our information had slipped into Afghanistan," he said.
In Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, police fired teargas to disperse several thousand supporters of Harkat ul-Mujahideen who were protesting against the government's refusal to allow the return of the bodies. Pro-Taleban groups in the country have been demonstrating against Pakistan's support for the U.S. led air strikes in neighboring Afghanistan.