Pakistani troops are patrolling the streets of several cities where protests are underway against U.S. air and missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan. The protests come as Taleban authorities in Afghanistan say they have recovered more than 160 bodies from a village they say was struck by U.S. jets on Thursday.
Scattered protests broke out in several Pakistani cities early Friday as religious parties who support the Taleban called for a general strike to protest the attacks against targets in Afghanistan. More protests are expected later in the day following Friday prayers.
Pakistan's government has placed security forces throughout the country on a heightened state of alert and Army troops have been mobilized to keep order in several locations. Tensions are high in the western Pakistani city of Quetta, which is home to a large Afghan refugee population and in the southern city of Jacobabad, where media reports say U.S. support troops have been deployed to a Pakistani air base.
Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf warned late Thursday that extremist violence will not be tolerated, and any Afghan refugees who engage in violence will be sent home.
U.S. jets carried out more daylight strikes against targets around the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday. Asked about the reported arrival of U.S. troops in Pakistan, the Taleban Ambassador in Islamabad, Abdul Salaam Zaeef said on Thursday, if U.S. troops enter Afghanistan the Taleban will be ready. "When the Americans enter Afghanistan there will start the real war," he said. "Not now."
Taleban authorities near the eastern city of Jalalabad say as many as 200 civilians may have been killed when U.S. jets bombed targets around the city. The casualty reports cannot be independently confirmed. U.S. officials say Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida group have used the hills around Jalalabad as a base of operations for years.