Missile strike kills 20 in South Waziristan

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the tribal areas and the NWFP. Click to view.

A devastating explosion destroyed the fortress-like home of a tribal elder in South Waziristan on Sunday, killing up to 20 people and leaving five others injured today, state-run Pakistan Television announced. Foreign fighters and Taliban insurgents are believed to be among the dead. One of three missiles fired from an "unidentified location," with several local tribesmen believing they were fired from Afghanistan, is responsible for the massive explosion, according to witnesses who spoke to The Associated Press of Pakistan. Other residents reported seeing a drone circling the village shortly before the blasts occurred and added foreigners with links to al Qaeda have lived in the area for some time.

The blast obliterated the fortified compound owned by Pakistani tribal elder, Noorullah Wazir, who lived in the village of Dhook Pir Bagh some five kilometers from Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan. Pakistani Taliban have cordoned off the area and began excavating bodies from the rubble, AFP reported.

Another nearby house, which Uzbek and Arab fighters recently stayed at, was also destroyed in a separate round of missile fire, Pakistani officials told The Associated Press. The second house was owned by Safraz Khan, a tribesman sympathetic to the Taliban. Eight to 10 fighters were killed in this attack.

It is not immediately clear who launched the attack, but Pakistan has confirmed reports that missiles were fired in this incident. NATO forces in Afghanistan have launched both covert and overt strikes against targets in Pakistan in the past. The most recent strike came on March, 12 when US forces responding to an imminent threat by the Haqqani network, a Taliban-linked terrorist group, launched a coordinated attack using "precision munitions" against a compound one and a half kilometers inside Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal agency.

The attack is believed to have killed three senior Haqqani network commanders and "many" Chechen fighters, according to US military officials who spoke to The Long War Journal in Afghanistan. Local Pakistani officials claim two women and two children died in the attack, but refused to comment if insurgents were also among the dead. Detailed US surveillance of the area before the attack indicated no women or children were present in or near the compound up to five days before the attack.

Late last month, another missile strike killed several foreign fighters at a compound in Azam Warzak, South Waziristan. The building was owned by local tribal elder Shero Wazir, a follower of Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir. Both men maintain strong relations with Arab al Qaeda members in South Waziristan. The attack destroyed Shero's house, which he rented to Arabs, and killed anywhere from eight to 13 al Qaeda and Taliban, including an unnamed "Arab fugitive."

Predating that attack, a targeted strike in North Waziristan killed Abu Laith al Libi, a top al Qaeda commander and leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, along with several of his Arab associates.

See additional coverage: Unprecedented Coalition strike nails the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan and Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al Libi killed in North Waziristan


READER COMMENTS: "Missile strike kills 20 in South Waziristan"

Posted by Ammo Guy at March 16, 2008 3:49 PM ET:

I love "unidentified locations." Meanwhile, it has bugged me for years when posters complain about our lack of action in certain areas when I know our guys are working hard to ID and rout the enemy. As always, we pick and choose our moments carefully...and, if this "strike" turns out to be something more mundane, like a gas grill malfunction during a bandit barbecue, so be it. Let them think we did it so they remain nervous every time they squat down to take a dump, so to speak. Good shooting guys and may God bless you all.

Posted by Max at March 16, 2008 4:56 PM ET:

Excellent. Keep hitting them and hitting them hard.

Posted by hellfire at March 16, 2008 5:28 PM ET:

I thought I read an uncomfirmed report that it was a daylight strike around 3:00pm local time.

The following story contains a small photo of one of the destroyed targets.


Posted by Dave at March 16, 2008 7:13 PM ET:

Are they getting any closer to Bin Laden?

Posted by mjr007 at March 16, 2008 9:06 PM ET:

"Are they getting any closer to Bin Laden?"

Can you say October surprise?

Posted by AQI Losses at March 16, 2008 9:34 PM ET:

We are also having success in Afghanistan, as an al-Qaeda spokesman announces the death of nine of the network's commanders.


Posted by TS Alfabet at March 16, 2008 9:56 PM ET:

There is no mistaking the increased tempo of attacks since the Pakistani parliamentary elections.

It seems that the U.S. was reluctant to make these cross-border strikes so long as Musharraf's hold on power was stronger, but, with the elections going badly for his party (to say the least), it seems that the gloves are off and AQ had better start packing up their training camps and relocating to the nearest Girl Scouts of Pakistan location.

Posted by Marlin at March 16, 2008 10:20 PM ET:

More updates are coming as the daily newspapers print their Monday editions.

An elder, who asked not to be named, told Daily Times that the house of Noorullah, where the Arabs were holding a meeting, was situated about half a kilometre from the station of Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir in South Waziristan.

"Nazir remained unhurt, but the attack left at least 15 Arabs dead," added the elder who said he heard three huge blasts that jolted the area around the site of the attack. The initial three explosions were followed by four more blasts, said the unnamed elder, adding the attack was carried out around 3pm. He said the foreigners often gathered at the house and held meetings there.

Daily Times: 20 foreigners die in S Waziristan missile strike

Posted by chris at March 17, 2008 12:16 AM ET:

Hitting the area for a second time would seem to make sense unless we are able to track responders and get more value from that info.

Better ROE = victory. The Taliban had been talking up their Spring Offensive and hopefully this is just part of a campaign to obliterate any group of more than 10 adult men congregating anywhere near the border. Taliban will keep blowing up civilians but western reporters are getting bored with muslims killing muslims and the effect is not so good for building up support for taliban within Afghanistan.

Posted by Thanos at March 17, 2008 8:30 AM ET:

So we have two strikes here, the artillery across the border, another strike 2/28 with unknowns. We also have the strike that got Al Libi in February.

I'm counting five strikes in Pakistan since the new year and elections. I think we are working a window of opportunity since the gov't of Pakistan is in flux, and the new gov't once formed can disclaim and denounce everything.

So I recommend we keep up the operational pace or speed it, the window's closing now that Zardari's last corruption charge is struck down.

Posted by JusCruzn at March 17, 2008 10:21 AM ET:

GOOD WORK TROOPS!!! Keep hitting them, and when they gather to pick up the pieces hit them again. You can never tell what slime will crawl out of some hole after the first strike so multiple strikes seem to make sense. We need to keep letting Osama, and Ayman and Co. know that soon there isn't going to be a hole deep enough, or out of the way enough for us to not get them. Amazing how they keep running, when anytime they release a tape they always say they want to die in battle. Come out, come out little cowards and play with the hellfire you have unleashed!!!

Posted by Khan at March 17, 2008 1:36 PM ET:

This is where the buck stops.
You can keep hitting and killing innocent civilians mostly but it will catch up to you and each and every civilian killed, you'll pay the price.

its just a matter of time.
Doomsday is not far

Posted by remoteman at March 17, 2008 2:21 PM ET:

khaaaaaaaaan! I'm sure all these were just nice fellows enjoying tea. For them, doomsday has already come. Innocent civilians...pfeh.

Posted by Sam at March 17, 2008 2:47 PM ET:

I'm absolutely thrilled we are finally hitting these guys. This means something has changed politically.

Either Pak gave us the go-ahead or we have decided to ignore protestations because they are so divided politically at the moment as a result of the recent election that they have other things to be concerened about and can't unite enough to complain about it.

Posted by Hellfire at March 17, 2008 3:24 PM ET:

"The missile has left only part of a boundary wall intact and turned the compound into a pile of debris," he said.

"Body parts were flung into the air and were lying in nearby farmlands," he added.

Here is a larger picture, Check out the armed ninja on the right.

Posted by Tommy at March 18, 2008 1:39 AM ET:


That article claims that a DOCTOR of Arab origin is among the dead!!!!

Posted by Rhyno327/lrsd at March 20, 2008 9:31 AM ET:

This sounds like a HIMARS strike. If iam not mistaken, this can be launched from a MLRS platform, or a box containing the missles and controlled by Soldiers at a distance. A B1-B dropping a couple JDAMS at altitude? Possible also. I think we will be seeing this in the coming weeks so as to decapitate thier leaders, thier field commanders...and to put fear in thier hearts. A guided missle that can hit the corner of a building its so accurate. Thats a good bet. Another one is that there are eyes on the targets, and they never know if and when they are being watched. Very unsettling...