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Report: Strike targets Baitullah Mehsud's hideout in Pakistan


Baitullah.jpg

Baitullah Mehsud from a recent Taliban video.

The US military may have targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud Several in an airstrike on June 14, according to several reports from Pakistan.

Baitullah's hideout in the town of Makeen in South Waziristan was hit with three missiles, according to Geo TV and the Daily Times. Only one person was confirmed killed in the strike. Baitullah is not believed to have been killed.

Baitullah, the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, sheltered in a safe house in Makeen run by Anwar Shah at the end of December 2008 after claiming credit for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

On week ago, 18 Taliban fighters from Makeen were killed during a major engagement in Paktika province, Afghanistan, as they attempted to cross the border.

US strikes inside Pakistan

If confirmed, the Makeen strike would be the fifth such targeted attack inside Pakistan this year. On June 10, the US military attacked Taliban fighters as they crossed the border, killing eight and sparking outrage from the Pakistani government. Two senior al Qaeda operatives were killed in the prior attacks.

Abu Laith al Libi was killed in a US strike inside the North Waziristan tribal agency in Pakistan in late January. Al Libi was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and served as a chief spokesman for al Qaeda. Laith also commanded al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.

Abu Sulayman Jazairi, a senior Algerian operative for al Qaeda's central organization, along with 13 associates, was killed in an airstrike against a Taliban and al Qaeda safe house in the town of Damadola in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal agency on May 14. Jazairi is described as a senior trainer, an explosives expert, and an operational commander tasked with planning attacks on the West.

Jazairi is thought to have succeeded Abu Ubaidah al Masri, a senior al Qaeda operative who served as the former operations chief in Kunar, Afghanistan, before becoming al Qaeda operations chief for global strikes. Ubaidah took over for Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, a senior deputy for Osama bin Laden who was personally chosen by bin Laden to monitor al Qaeda operations inside Iraq. Hadi was captured by US forces as he attempted to enter Iraq in late 2006. Ubaidah is believed to have died from complications from an illness.

On March 12, the US military fired guided missiles from Afghanistan into a compound run by Siraj Haqqani, the wanted Taliban leader behind numerous attacks in Afghanistan. The attack is believed to have killed three senior Haqqani network commanders and "many" Chechen fighters.

On March 16, US forces struck at the fortified compound owned by Noorullah Wazir, a Pakistani tribal elder who lived in the village of Dhook Pir Bagh some five kilometers from Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan. Another nearby house, where Uzbek and Arab fighters recently stayed, was also destroyed in a separate round of missile fire.

Prior to the January strike that killed al Libi, the last US attack inside Pakistan occurred in Mir Ali in North Waziristan on December 28, the day after Benazir Bhutto's assassination. The US military targeted the home of Sheikh Essa, an Egyptian cleric responsible for pushing the Taliban to overthrow the Pakistani government. Essa was said to have been wounded in the attack.

In August 2007, when Pakistani forces hit two Taliban and al Qaeda bases in the village of Daygan, North Waziristan. Camps and bases in Damadola, Danda Saidgai, Chingai, Zamazola, again in Danda Saidgai, and Mami Rogha were hit over the course of 2006 and 2007.

These strikes have done little to disrupt the growth of al Qaeda and the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan. The Taliban and al Qaeda maintain 29 terror camps in North and South Waziristan alone.



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READER COMMENTS: "Report: Strike targets Baitullah Mehsud's hideout in Pakistan"

Posted by KW64 at June 15, 2008 3:46 PM ET:

Karzai directly addressed Baitullah to say they were coming after him. He implied they would be willing to cross the border as well since the Pakistanis were doing nothing about Baitullah's cross border raids. It would be interesting how the Pakistanis would respond to that.

I see that the Pakistani Govt says they will help recover 28 kidnapped Iranians taken into Pakistan by insurgents attacking into Iran. No such help for groups that attack into Afghanistan apparently.

Posted by Marlin at June 15, 2008 3:49 PM ET:

Maybe one of the reasons for the increase in strikes in Pakistan is an increase in better intelligence.

The Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in the US-led operations to capture Bin Laden in the wild frontier region of northern Pakistan. It is the first time they have operated across the Afghan border on a regular basis.

The hunt was "completely sanctioned" by the Pakistani government, according to a UK special forces source. It involves the use of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with Hellfire missiles that can be used to take out specific terrorist targets.

One US intelligence source compared the "growing number of clandestine reconnaissance missions" inside Pakistan with those conducted in Laos and Cambodia at the height of the Vietnam war.

Sunday Times: Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office, orders George W Bush

Posted by Dating at June 16, 2008 5:03 AM ET:

It's about time we take the fight to them.

Posted by Tom at June 16, 2008 9:56 AM ET:

It has occurred to me that the events of today have an interesting parellel in history. Piracy had been a major problem in the early centuries of the Roman Empire, until it was decided that something needed to be done. Their Navy was in no way an equal to their Army as far as being a fearsome fighting force was concerned, so their strategy entailed having their Army conquer the ports and harbors of the Mediterrian Basin and forcing the pirates to move on until finally, all that remained were a few hideouts in the Norteastern shoreline between modern day Turkey and Syria. Then the entire Roman Navy showed up and destroyed the disorganized and congested rabble of pirates on a single afternoon. The Mediterrian was free of pirates for centuries thereafter.

Could it be that what we now have in the tribal areas of Pakistan is the modern day equivalent to the Roman solution for their 'terrorists'?

Let the Paki's (willingly or unwillingly) continue to gripe about their 'sovereignty' as long as they can keep the knuckleheads believing that they're not involved, and in the meantime we keep knockin' the hell out of'em until we finally get who we're looking for or they're totaly crushed.

Even if the Pakistani's are sincere about not wanting us to cross their border, what are they actually going to DO...file a complaint?!?

What are some of your thoughts on this?

Posted by Tom at June 16, 2008 10:00 AM ET:

I actually meant to spell 'Mediterranean'-oops!

Posted by ST333 at June 16, 2008 2:06 PM ET:

"On June 10, the US military attacked Taliban fighters as they crossed the border, killing eight and sparking outrage from the Pakistani government. Two senior al Qaeda operatives were killed in the prior attacks."

~~What exactly "outraged" the Paki govn't about that? It wasn't even on their soil. That's the kind of things I read and wonder exactly where the Paki Govn't lies. I also see where there's a question about weather or not Iran has obtained advanced nuclear warhead designs from the AQ Khan network. How about the next Predator drone hits his house. That guy is a danger and should not be under that fraud of a "house arrest" in Pakistan. He needs to have a room at Gitmo.

Posted by David m at June 16, 2008 3:01 PM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/16/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

Posted by C. Jordan at June 16, 2008 4:22 PM ET:

Posted by ST333 at June 16, 2008 2:06 PM ET:
"He needs to have a room at Gitmo."

Why? So he can take his captors to court?

Posted by ST333 at June 17, 2008 10:46 AM ET:

Posted by ST333 at June 16, 2008 2:06 PM ET:
"He needs to have a room at Gitmo."
Posted by C. Jordan at June 16, 2008 4:22 PM ET:
Why? So he can take his captors to court?
Post a Comment

~I wouldn't mind seeing AQ Khan in court. He broke all kinds of international laws and should pay in that regard. As for the combatants, they should never see a civilian court. They should have been in military courts by now.

Posted by Rhyno327/lrsd at June 18, 2008 9:41 AM ET:

I can believe thier are Recon elements and small groups of US/UK operators in P-stan feeding actionable intel to command. Let the p-stani's cry and moan all they want, the truth is they cannot be trusted. So, with or w/out thier permission we are targeting HVT's and concentrations of insurgents. Wat will really scatter them would be the destruction of the 30+ camps in N. & S. Waziristan. This requires more than just UAV's. This has to be a strike package consisting of Air Force and Marine/Navy warplanes. Sooner or later, this decision will have to be made. If not, you will have wat the poster above desribed about piracy and Rome. Hit them where they sleep, where they live. Tell the p-stanis to stay out the way.

Posted by Jerjes Talpur at June 23, 2008 3:08 PM ET:

Very improper way of dealing extremism. Extremism is state of mind where person feels hate and then they retaliate.
Pakistan's tribale people are some how connected to taliban, those taliban was created by America. Got completely free hand by NATO, UNO.

This perception was created by America to love taliban they are international heros, Osama is GOD father.thats why local people of tribal areas got intimacy with taliban.
But US just abusing their power by attacking civilians in Pakistan, even there are lot of other proper ways to handle and completely finish terrorism and extremism.
But they don't want to go in long process and they will get destructive failure result by short term policies at massive term mission which was created by them for cold war.

If American forces will continuously attack civilians and military, then hate in local people will increase and war on terror will never end till the last person in this world.
America just want to secure their nation by unsecuring all nations of the world.