Eight killed in North Waziristan airstrike


A US airstrike in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan is thought to have killed eight foreign al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Unmanned aircraft appeared to have targeted a vehicle in the village of Turikhel near the town of Mir Ali, Geo News reported.

"The blast was so huge that it could be heard as far as Miranshah," Reuters reported, noting that Mir Ali is 15 miles away.

No senior Taliban or al Qaeda leaders have been reported killed in the strike at this time.

An airstrike on Sept. 7 in the Mir Ali region was thought to have killed Mustafa al Jaziri, a senior military commander for al Qaeda and a member of the military shura; and Ilyas Kashmiri, the operational commander of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), an al Qaeda-linked terror group that operates in Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh [see LWJ report, Senior al Qaeda leaders reported killed in North Waziristan strike for more information on Mustafa and Kashmiri].

US intelligence believes Mustafa was indeed killed in the attack while Kashmiri was not, according to officials contacted by The Long War Journal. Mustafa's death has not been confirmed.

The town of Mir Ali is a known stronghold of al Qaeda leader Abu Kasha al Iraqi, an Iraqi national who is also known as Abu Akash. He has close links to the Taliban, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in January 2007. He serves as the key link between al Qaeda's Shura Majlis, or executive council, and the Taliban.

His responsibilities have expanded to assisting in facilitating al Qaeda's external operations against the West, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal in October 2008.

Today's strike near Mir Ali is the third this week and the third in North Waziristan in a row. Four of the last five US strikes have taken place in North Waziristan. From June 14 to Aug. 20, 11 of the 12 strikes took place in South Waziristan. One of the attacks there killed Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

The shift to North Waziristan indicates the US is now targeting the dangerous Haqqani Network and also al Qaeda's network, which operates in the agency. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on the shift in attacks from South to North Waziristan.

The US has carried out 38 airstrikes inside Pakistan this year. In all of 2008, 36 strikes were carried out.



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READER COMMENTS: "Eight killed in North Waziristan airstrike"

Posted by David M at September 14, 2009 9:57 AM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/14/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by Rhyno327 at September 14, 2009 10:22 AM ET:

8 killed...and there will be 8 to replace them. Unless the shura in Quetta can be disposed of, there will be no stability in a-stan. The P-stanis KNOW where these people are, w/out thier co-operation we are p-ing in the wind. Unless you do it anyway, no matter wat they say..

Posted by ArneFufkin at September 14, 2009 1:00 PM ET:

Rhyno, at this juncture, who fears reprisals from this impotent Pak military should we unilaterally dispose of the Quetta shura? I'll take the ANA and 85,000 battle hardened U.S. Rangers, Marines, Airmen and Brit/Canadian/Dane superpros currently conducting the Afghan campaign over a million of Pakistan's disinterested military "professionals" should they take umbrage to our taking out their garbage. It's time to send B-1s, Strike Eagles and B-2s instead of Predators into these Pak stinkholes to let them know enough is enough. We need to understand that the "civilians" who aid and abet thugs crossing borders to kill innocent Afghan civilians and ambush our military heroes are collaborators and every bit our enemy as the Taliban/AQ punks themselves. This whack-a-mole campaign is nothing but nonsense. If it's war they want, let's make them suffer the ravages of war. Or else it's all just a charade. Who cares if the Paks are permitting a supply route to our troops if they are permitting our enemies safe refuge and protection simultaneously? Duplicitous does not begin to describe the Pak political leadership and security organs.

Posted by Spooky at September 14, 2009 3:18 PM ET:

If it was that easy, the Indians (who are no slouches) would have taken care of them a long time ago.

I would be very careful about fighting the Pak military. Sure, they aren't the best of the best of the best, but its that particular organization's nationalism that keeps the entire country from imploding. As such, while they seem disinterested now, try moving in on their turf in such an aggressive manner, and you can bet they will fight tooth and nail, because they know if they lose, the whole country falls to pieces.

Sure, you would probably still win, but it would be pyhrric.

There is something to say for fanaticism on the battlefield, religious or otherwise.

Posted by Rhyno327 at September 15, 2009 8:24 AM ET:

ARNE, wish we could do all that. Its heartbreaking when you hear of good young men dying, and those vermin walking around Quetta without fear. I think this is where we need to hit. Or bend the P-stanis arms until THEY do it. There is so much we don't know, going on behind the scenes, and we may never know all of it. PAK is where they run and hide. This is where they live. How can we dispose of these people? There's gotta be a way.

Posted by kp at September 15, 2009 3:28 PM ET:

The article says:

"Unmanned aircraft appeared to have targeted a vehicle in the village of Turikhel near the town of Mir Ali, Geo News reported.

"The blast was so huge that it could be heard as far as Miranshah," Reuters reported, noting that Mir Ali is 15 miles away.

Even if it was a Reaper and had a 500lbs on it that doesn't sound like you'd hear it 15 miles away.

Where they targeting a large truckbomb in convoy?

We aren't just plinking the Taliban/AQ they're targeting interesting stuff that they find or is reveal through other intelligence.

Perhaps some of it is "Reconnaissance by fire". Kill some known Taliban then watch and listen to the response to reveal some useful intel.