US kills 6 in strike in Baitullah Mehsud's territory
After a relative lull in targeted airstrikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, the US has launched an attack in South Waziristan.
Reports from Pakistan indicate at least six were killed and five were wounded after an unmanned Predator strike aircraft launched two missiles in the tribal region run by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. It is unclear if any senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders were killed in the attack.
The strike targeted a safe house in the village of Sam in the Ladha region. The Pakistani Frontier Corps abandoned a fort in Ladha after the Taliban made three attempts to overrun the fort this year. Pakistani officials said the military was unable to hold and resupply the outposts due to Taliban activity.
The US has upped its attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas in an attempt to disrupt al Qaeda and the Taliban's network of training camps and safe houses that are being used to plot attacks against the West and in Afghanistan.
Today's strike was the first since Oct. 11, when US Predators hit a safe house run by the Haqqani family in North Waziristan. Two days prior, the US hit another safe house in North Waziristan, where more than 30 senior Taliban and al Qaeda leaders are said to have been meeting.
US officials familiar with the Oct. 9 strike The Long War Journal they believe the operation was compromised by Pakistani intelligence, as the meeting was abruptly broken up just 10 minutes prior to the strike. Six low-level al Qaeda operatives and three others were killed in airstrike. No senior leaders were killed in the attack.
There have been 24 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan in 2008, compared to 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined. Sixteen of these attacks have occurred since Aug. 31. Three senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed in Pakistan's tribal areas in 2008.
The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups have established 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.
US attacks inside Pakistan and incidents along the border in 2008:
• US strike in Baitullah Mehsud's territory kills 6
Oct. 16, 2008
• US targets safe house in North Waziristan
Oct. 11, 2008
• US strike kills 9 al Qaeda and Taliban in North Waziristan
Oct. 9, 2008
• US conducts two strikes in North Waziristan
Oct. 3, 2008
• Taliban: Baitullah Mehsud alive; US strike in North Waziristan
Oct. 1, 2008
• Pakistan military fires on ISAF forces
Sept. 25, 2008
• Pakistani military fires on US helicopters at border
Sept. 22, 2008
• US strikes Taliban camp in South Waziristan
Sept. 17, 2008
• Report: US helicopters fired on while crossing Pakistani border
Sept. 15, 2008
• US hits compound in North Waziristan,
Sept. 12, 2008
• US targets Haqqani Network in North Waziristan,
Sept. 8, 2008
• US airstrike killed five al Qaeda operatives in North Waziristan,
Sept. 5, 2008
• Report: US airstrike kills four in North Waziristan,
Sept. 4, 2008
• Pakistanis claim US helicopter-borne forces assaulted village in South Waziristan,
Sept. 3, 2008
• US hits al Qaeda safe house in North Waziristan,
Aug. 31, 2008
• Five killed in al Qaeda safe house strike in South Waziristan,
Aug. 31, 2008
• Al Qaeda safe house targeted in South Waziristan strike,
Aug. 20, 2008
• Cross-border strike targets one of the Taliban's 157 training camps in Pakistan's northwest,
Aug. 13, 2008
• Six killed in strike in South Waziristan,
July 28, 2008
• Report: Strike targets Baitullah Mehsud's hideout in Pakistan,
June 14, 2008
• Senior Algerian al Qaeda operative killed in May 14 strike inside Pakistan,
May 24, 2008
• Missile strike kills 20 in South Waziristan,
March 16, 2008
• Unprecedented Coalition strike nails the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan,
March 13, 2008
• Missile strike on al Qaeda meeting in South Waziristan kills 13,
Feb. 28, 2008
• Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al Libi killed in North Waziristan,
Jan. 31, 2008