US strikes in 2 villages in South Waziristan

Map of the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. The government signed peace agreements in the red agencies/ districts (the military said Shangla was under Taliban control in October); purple districts are under de facto Taliban control; yellow regions are under Taliban influence.

US unmanned Predator strike aircraft fired missiles at Taliban safe houses in two villages in South Waziristan, according to reports from the region.

At least eight people were killed in attacks on the villages of Karikot and Shin Warsak near Wana, AFP reported. "It was not immediately clear if the twin strikes, only minutes apart, targeted any senior Taliban or Al-Qaeda fugitives," a senior Pakistani security official told the news agency.

The Wana region is a stronghold of Mullah Nazir, a Taliban chieftain and rival of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. The US targeted Nazir and Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, in a strike near Wana on Nov. 7. Nazir was wounded in the attack. Yuldashev's status is still unknown.

There have been 36 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan this year, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-nine of these attacks took place since Aug. 31. There were only 10 recorded strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.

The strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas have disrupted al Qaeda and the Taliban's operations, but will not dislodge the groups from power in the region.

The US campaign in Pakistan is aimed at disrupting al Qaeda's ability to attack the West. US intelligence believes the next attack launched against the West will originate from Pakistan's tribal areas, where al Qaeda operates 157 known training camps. Al Qaeda has been training terrorists holding Western passports to conduct attacks, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.

The US strikes inside Pakistan's tribal areas have killed five senior al Qaeda leaders this year. All of the leaders were involved in supporting al Qaeda's external operations directed at the West.

Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander in Afghanistan, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan in January. Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda's external operations chief, was killed in a strike in Bajaur in March. Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction chief, and several senior members of his staff were killed in a strike in South Waziristan in July. Khalid Habib, the leader of al Qaeda's paramilitary forces in the tribal areas, was killed in North Waziristan in October. Abu Jihad al Masri, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and member of al Qaeda's top council, was also killed in North Waziristan this October.

US attacks inside Pakistan and incidents along the border in 2008:

US strikes in two villages in South Waziristan
Dec. 22, 2008
US Predator strikes in North Waziristan
Dec. 15, 2008
US strike in South Waziristan kills 7
Dec. 11, 2008
US Predator hits al Qaeda target in North Waziristan kills 3
Dec. 5, 2008
US strike in North Waziristan kills 3
Nov. 29, 2008
US hits Taliban safe house in North Waziristan
Nov. 21, 2008
US Predator strikes al Qaeda & Taliban outside of Pakistan's tribal areas
Nov. 19, 2008
US targets compound in North Waziristan
Nov. 14, 2008
US Predators strike al Qaeda camp in North Waziristan
Nov. 7, 2008
US Predators strike again in Waziristan
Oct. 31, 2008
US strikes kill al Qaeda operatives in North & South Waziristan
Oct. 31, 2008
US targets Taliban "facility" in South Waziristan
Oct. 26, 2008
US hits Haqqani Network in North Waziristan
Oct. 22, 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


READER COMMENTS: "US strikes in 2 villages in South Waziristan"

Posted by David M at December 22, 2008 5:04 PM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/22/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by John at December 22, 2008 5:31 PM ET:

Way to go, men! Keep hammering them. Exploit every opportunity! And Merry Christmas!

Posted by juscruzn at December 22, 2008 10:05 PM ET: