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Don't fire rockets because target not there, Pakistani official tells U.S.

A senior Pakistani government official urged the United States on Friday not to extend missile strikes into southwestern Baluchistan province in its pursuit of Taliban leader Mullah Muhammed Omar because he is not there.

Taliban rockets kill 10 in attack that hits town

A senior Pakistani government official urged the United States on Friday not to extend missile strikes into southwestern Baluchistan province in its pursuit of Taliban leader Mullah Muhammed Omar because he is not there.

"A person who is making war against the NATO forces, he must be present in Afghanistan, in [the Afghan province of] Kandahar or somewhere," said Mohammad Aslam Raisani, head of the Baluchistan provincial government.

"There is no justification for drone attacks in Quetta or other parts of  Baluchistan," he said.

Taliban students studying peacefully in religious schools in Pakistan are not the same as Taliban militants fighting in Afghanistan, he added.

This comes after security forces launched a hunt Friday for suspected Taliban insurgents who fired rockets toward a base late Thursday near the Khyber Pass in northwest Pakistan, killing 10 people.

The rockets missed the base in Landi Kotal but hit the town's commercial area, where it also injured 38, started a fire in a timber yard and destroyed nearby shops.

CIA director to visit

CIA Director Leon Panetta was expected in Pakistan on Friday for meetings with security and intelligence officials.

The New York Times reported earlier this week that Western and Afghan officials are considering extending missile strikes into the southwest region, though U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates on Wednesday appeared to play down the likelihood of that happening.

He said it was "principally a problem and a challenge for the Pakistanis to take on" with American assistance.

Western officials suspect Omar and other members of the Taliban government ousted by the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 are hiding near the city of Quetta, Baluchistan's capital.

They are also concerned about Baluchistan because it is an entry point for Taliban fighters into Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

Pakistan has said it will move against the Taliban chief once the U.S. proves he is there.

With files from The Associated Press

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