US forces may have sent in ground troops for the first time Wednesday. Were they targeting a top Taliban or Al Qaeda figure?
While the United States has frequently been connected with missile attacks in Pakistan – usually carried out by pilotless drone aircraft – this claim, if true, would mark "a threshold being crossed," says Ikram Sehgal, editor of Defence Journal in Karachi, Pakistan.
US forces have so far not been definitively linked to any ground operations in Pakistan, and the Pakistan government has repeatedly said it will not allow such an operation – which it calls a violation of national sovereignty – to take place.
Yet Owais Ahmed Ghani, who oversees Pakistan's restive tribal areas as governor of the North West Frontier Province, said American commandos with support from three helicopter gunships attacked a Pakistani village near the Afghan border.
"At least 20 innocent civilians of Pakistan including women and children were martyred," he said.