US strike kills 9 al Qaeda and Taliban in North Waziristan


The US continues to target al Qaeda and Taliban safe houses and training camps in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal areas. The latest attack killed nine, including six "foreign militants" - a reference to al Qaeda operatives.

At least two missiles were reported to have been fired at two known Taliban safe houses in the village of Tati near the city of Miramshah. A Reuters reporter saw an unmanned US Predator aircraft flying in the area and conducting the attack.

"The attack targeted the house of a local Taliban commander named Hafiz Sahar Gul," The News reported. Three member of Gul's family and six al Qaeda operatives were killed in the strike, according to Pakistani sources. No senior Taliban or al Qaeda leaders have been identified as killed.

The US has been heavily targeting the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan since attacks were stepped up at the end of August. Nine of the 14 strikes conducted in Pakistan's tribal areas since Aug. 31 have hit Haqqani assets in North Waziristan. A US strike hit the Haqqani's main mosque in Miramshah on Sept. 9, sparking a series of attacks against Pakistani forces in North Waziristan.

The powerful Haqqani family controls the Miramshah region in North Waziristan. The Haqqanis run a parallel government in North Waziristan and conduct military and suicide operations in eastern Afghanistan. Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani have close ties to Osama bin Laden. Siraj is one of the most wanted terrorist commanders in Afghanistan for his involvement in a string of deadly attacks and for recruiting and training foreign terrorists for suicide attacks.

The Pakistani military has shied away from confronting the Haqqanis and Hafiz Gul Bahadar, another senior Taliban commander in North Waziristan. The military commander assured the Waziri tribes that an operation would not be launched against "militant tribes" in North Waziristan. Instead the military sought to honor the February 2008 peace agreement.

The US has stepped up attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas this year after the Taliban and al Qaeda consolidated control in the tribal regions and settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. There have been 23 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan in 2008, compared to 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.

These attacks are designed to interdict al Qaeda's ability to conduct attacks against the West as well as degrade the Taliban's support network being used against NATO forces in Afghanistan. Three senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed in the attacks.

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.

The Pakistani military said it had direct orders to "open fire" on any US forces attempting to violate Pakistan's borders. The military has fired on US helicopters along the border at least three times in September. But in a briefing today in parliament, the military said it does not have the capacity to shoot down US Predators and other advanced aircraft.


US attacks inside Pakistan and incidents along the border in 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



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READER COMMENTS: "US strike kills 9 al Qaeda and Taliban in North Waziristan"

Posted by JusCruzn at October 9, 2008 4:28 PM ET:

GOOD WORK TROOPS KEEP KILLING HIRABI"S!!!

Posted by KnightHawk at October 9, 2008 6:12 PM ET:

Good to see this continue.

Posted by KW64 at October 9, 2008 6:45 PM ET:

Predators are rather low and slow. I would think the Pakistanis could shoot them down if they really wanted to. Don't some of them fly out of Pakistani locations?

Posted by Neo at October 9, 2008 9:23 PM ET:

The Preditors could easily be shot down by F-16's. I imagine there might be some unwanted political fallout though, that is if the Pakistani's want to keep flying F-16's.

Posted by Alex at October 10, 2008 12:00 AM ET:

There's a report that we're planning on supplying the ANA with some more equipment: 6,000 armored vehicles, but I'm not sure what the author's interpretation of "armored vehicle" is. Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/US_To_Give_Afghan_Army_New_Vehicles_Weapons/1294967.html

My guess is that they're talking about up-armored Humvees, which is still an improvement over a bunch of guys in the back of a pickup truck. Force multipliers like this go a long way in building Afghan legitimacy and giving a technological edge on AQ/Taliban. I'm thinking also, how about some of those Polish DZIK (probably misspelled) vehicles? Yes, it's not heavy armor or even medium armor, but they're cheap and it sure beats ANA walking on foot or tying up our forces to transport them.

Posted by Rhyno327/lrsd at October 10, 2008 11:10 AM ET:

For the US to make a real difference, manned US warplanes need to be used. These are pin pricks, wats needed is a sledgehammer strike against the camps and "un-safe houses"...the P-stani's will let Haqqani be, as long as his org. does not strike inside P-stan. The P-stani's are battling Mehsud's org., leaving the Haqqani's to strike inside A-stan. Using covert means and US airpower, the Haqqani's will start feeling hunted. We need to keep the pressure on, and we need to ratchet up the effort.

Posted by Tommy at October 10, 2008 11:28 AM ET:

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWhO5P1wb0dt8nQP59mvDEMJdS_g

Apparently we targeted a high level Al Qaeda and Taliban meeting. Unfortunately, most of the top commanders got away.

Also, according to Asia Times Online an operation will be launched next week aimed at taking out Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

Posted by TS Alfabet at October 10, 2008 11:54 AM ET:

"The Pakistani military said it had direct orders to "open fire" on any US forces attempting to violate Pakistan's borders. The military has fired on US helicopters along the border at least three times in September. But in a briefing today n parliament, the military said it does not have the capacity to shoot down US Predators and other advanced aircraft."

There it is: this is the line drawn by the Pstan govt for US action in the tribal areas. This is as clear a signal as we can get that they will tolerate these UAV strikes (and probably cruise missile strikes, too) in tribal areas but no actual troops.

Ironically, the Pstani govt will tolerate the UAV's (which they can certainly shoot down as noted above) but may not tolerate U.S. air assets such as Stealth bombers or F-22's (which they probably could not shoot down, particularly if accompanied by jammers).

Rhyno, not sure that these "pinpricks" as you call them cannot be effective. The Israelis did wonders against the Palestinian hirabis using the decapitation approach that the U.S. seems to be using against the Haqqani network.

Posted by cjr at October 10, 2008 3:17 PM ET:

Alex:

"We're planning on supplying the ANA with some more equipment: 6,000 armored vehicles, but I'm not sure what the author's interpretation of "armored vehicle" is."

They are uparmored HUMVEEs. This has been in the works for a long time. US first announced it would supply uparmored HUMVEEs back in early 2007, goal was 800. In late 2007 the goal was upped to 5000. Today the goal is 6000 with 600 delivered so far. These will replace the ~5000 Ford F350 pickup trucks ANA currently uses.

Posted by TEM at October 10, 2008 9:04 PM ET:

I am still waiting, with great anticipation, the great news that Adam Gadan has been eliminated from this earth.
He's already "dead man walking" it's only a matter of time.

No trial, no constitutional rights, no arrest, complete with reading of miranda right, just death.
That's what he has asked for, by taking up arms against his home country and that's what he will heed.
It can't come soon enough for me.

P.S. Adam there is a front row seat, waiting for you in hell, right next to Stalin, Lenin,Hitler, Bin Laden, and other despots.

Posted by Rhyno327/lrsd at October 13, 2008 9:38 AM ET:

TS you have a legit point. Decap strikes are effective, as long as the intel keeps flowing in. I must admit Iam a tad frustrated with the P-stani effort, and thier laughable claims of "sovereignty," and the construction of all those camps, which they had to know about. Maybe its not time for that big strike, but to deny thier fighters shelter, a place to train and plan would go a long way. Iam all for decap strikes, Im just hoping for that hammer blow.