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Pakistan's Zardari Urges US General to Stop Missile Strikes

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has urged a top U.S. general to stop missile strikes on militant targets in Pakistani territory.

Pakistani state media say Mr. Zardari told visiting U.S. General David Petraeus Monday that the attacks are "counter-productive" and result in loss of innocent life.

Unmanned U.S. aircraft are believed to have carried out repeated missile strikes on militant strongholds in Pakistani border regions near Afghanistan since August.

Pakistani Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar also warned Petraeus in Islamabad that the missile strikes risk inflaming anti-American sentiment.

The U.S. general later told U.S. television network CNN that he heard clear messages from Pakistani leaders that the United States must consider.

Petraeus said he also spoke to Pakistani leaders about U.S. concerns that some Pakistani intelligence agents are helping Taliban militants.

Petraeus said Pakistani leaders recognize that they face what he calls an "existential threat" from extremists along the Pakistani-Afghan border. He said Pakistan is "very serious" about dealing with that threat.

Petraeus is on his first foreign trip since taking over as the head of all U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia last week.

The United States considers Pakistan a key ally in its war against al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, but the relationship has been strained by the cross-border strikes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.