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Pakistani mourns son slain by drone

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan - Not far from the house where Osama bin Laden was slain, a retired Pakistani banker is mourning the death of his youngest son in an American missile strike 10 days ago.

The drone attack was the end for a man who emerged from among Pakistan’s elite youth into a militant life, from Britain to Afghanistan to his homeland’s turbulent border regions.

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Aslam Awan died when a drone piloted remotely from the United States fired a missile at a house along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. He was among four killed. US officials said he was an “external operations planner’’ for Al Qaeda.

British authorities say he was a member of a militant cell in northern England and had fought in Afghanistan.

Awan’s background reinforces a striking association between this well-ordered, wealthy Pakistani army town and Al Qaeda militants, which began before bin Laden was killed here in May last year when a team of US commandos flew in from Afghanistan.

The Jan. 10 drone strike in the militant stronghold of North Waziristan that killed Awan was a victory for the CIA-led program at time when relations between Washington and Islamabad are very strained.

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