updated 10/23/2008 4:27:24 AM ET 2008-10-23T08:27:24

Suspected U.S. missiles struck a Taliban-linked school in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing five people in an apparent sign of U.S. frustration with the country's anti-terror efforts, intelligence officials said.

The strike came hours after Parliament warned against "incursions" on Pakistani soil in a resolution that also called for reviewing the national security strategy and making dialogue with militants the highest priority.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is also in the midst of an economic crisis brought on by high fuel prices, dwindling foreign investment, soaring inflation and militant violence.

Late on Wednesday, the government formally requested financial help from the International Monetary Fund to avoid a possible meltdown, a decision that could cost the government political support.

The suspected U.S. missiles hit the religious school on the outskirts of Miran Shah, the main town in the militant-infested North Waziristan region, four intelligence officials said.

Relying on informants and agents in the area, two officials said at least five people were killed and two wounded.

School reportedly tied to pro-Taliban cleric
The religious school belonged to a local pro-Taliban cleric, the intelligence officials said. The cleric has been linked to veteran Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, considered a top foe of the United States, they said.

The intelligence officials gave the information to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Militants in the northwest are blamed for rising attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan as well as surging suicide attacks within Pakistan.

The cross-border missile attacks have angered many Pakistani lawmakers and the pro-U.S. government has protested them as violations of the country's sovereignty.

Vague resolution
The parliamentary resolution was vague and lacking in details, apparently a result of political compromise after two weeks of closed-door debate.

The document did not directly mention two of the most divisive issues surrounding the terror fight: army offensives in the northwest and calls for unconditional talks with the extremists.

The major opposition parties recognize the need for military action against the insurgents but rarely forcefully express this because they need to maintain support among ordinary Pakistanis who are deeply suspicious of the war.

The seven-month old government — which is desperate for lawmakers to support its military offensive — hailed the 14-point document as a "historic moment for the country."

"This will definitely help to improve the situation and to rid the country of the menace of terrorism," Information Minister Sherry Rehman said.

The resolution calls for an "independent foreign policy," a sign of wariness of American influence. But it also states Pakistan will not let its soil be used for terrorist attacks elsewhere — an apparent nod to U.S. complaints about militants hiding in northwest Pakistan.

The resolution also alludes to the U.S. missile attacks, stating that Pakistan "stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively."

While saying dialogue "must now be the highest priority," it stipulates that talks should be pursued with those "elements" willing to follow the constitution and the "rule of law."

Two major offensives
The Pakistani army is engaged in two major offensives in the northwest — one in the Swat Valley and one in the Bajur tribal area. The latter has killed more than 1,000 militants, officials say. The United States has praised the crackdowns while warning that peace deals simply let militants regroup.

Pakistani officials had previously said turning to the IMF to avoid defaulting on billions of dollars of sovereign debt due in the coming months would be a last resort. Aid from the agency often comes with conditions such as cutting public spending that can affect programs for the poor, making it a politically tough choice for governments.

But in a statement Wednesday, the fund said Pakistan had requested help "to meet the balance of payments difficulties the country is experiencing." It said the amount of money requested by Pakistan had yet to be determined and that talks on the loan package would begin in a few days.

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