US airstrike kills 2 Taliban fighters in Mir Ali in Pakistan


The US has conducted yet another airstrike in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

Two Taliban fighters are reported to have been killed after US strike aircraft, likely unmanned Predators or Reapers, struck a safe house in the village of Mosakki in the Mir Ali region of North Waziristan.

"One US drone fired two missiles on a house.... The target was this house and a car parked outside was also destroyed," a senior Pakistan security official told AFP. "Two militants were killed in the attack and we have reports that more militants were hiding there, so the death toll could rise."

The strike targeted "the house of a person known as Sadiq Noor in Mir Ali," Geo News reported. Sadiq Noor is a senior Taliban commander in North Waziristan. Both he and Hafiz Gul Bahadar were the principal signatories of the 2006 peace agreement between the North Waziristan Taliban and the Pakistani government. It is not known if Noor was killed in the strike.

Noor is the second senior Taliban commander targeted in the Mir Ali region in three days. On Jan. 1, the US killed Haji Omar Khan, a close ally of Mullah Omar and Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Haji Omar sought refuge in North Waziristan after the military launched an offensive in South Waziristan in mid-October.

Today's attack is the third since the Haqqani Network conducted a suicide attack inside a CIA compound at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province, Afghanistan, on Dec. 30, 2009. Seven CIA employees, including the base commander, and a US civilian were killed in the attack. The suicide bomber is said to have been an informant who lived in North Waziristan and who provided intelligence on al Qaeda and the Taliban on both sides of the border.

North Waziristan has become the focal point of the US air campaign in Pakistan; the last three strikes have taken place in the Mir Ali region. Since the Aug. 5 strike in South Waziristan that killed Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, 17 of the 21 reported airstrikes have taken place in North Waziristan, while the other four were in South Waziristan.

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 and the Haqqani Network. The Haqqani Network and Hafiz Gul Bahadar also have influence in the Mir Ali region.

Abu Kasha 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.



Advertisement:


READER COMMENTS: "US airstrike kills 2 Taliban fighters in Mir Ali in Pakistan"

Posted by TimSln at January 3, 2010 9:21 PM ET:

Since the suicide bombing on the CIA base in Khost, the drone campaign has not slowed down or been less effective. 3 airstrikes in 4 days, including the death of an HVT, Haji Omar Khan. Also, the relatively low casualties of the strikes suggest very precise intelligence/targets.

Hmmm...seems to contradict what I thought would be a pause in the strikes, until the US recovered from the attack. Perhaps this was intelligence already in the pipeline and needed to be acted on quickly. Perhaps the US has more assets/resources than initially thought. Still to soon to draw any definitive conclusions.

Posted by Keith at January 3, 2010 9:44 PM ET:

Been reading the LWJ now just about every day for the past few years. Thanks for all the info, Bill.

I've actually got a question that doesn't have much to do with this article but didn't know where else to write. I wanted to get your thoughts on these daily reports emminating from Iraqi government sources about all these Qaeda operatives and Sunni extremists et al being captured on a daily basis.

Just how much should we be trusting that info?

Posted by Setrak at January 3, 2010 11:44 PM ET:

From Dawn/AFP:
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/06-us-drone-attack-kills-two-in-north-waziristan-rs-04

5 dead. One child(God rest his soul), 1 other local, and 3 foreigners of which at least one was an Arab.

AFP adds: "There may have been an important figure hiding in the house," a security official in Miramshah said.

"Five militants have been killed   Two are local and three are foreigners. One among the foreigners is an Arab," the security official said.

Posted by JT at January 4, 2010 12:26 AM ET:

This from Dawn.com:

"AFP adds: "There may have been an important figure hiding in the house," a security official in Miramshah said. "


Interesting. Usually they simply say something like, "no reports of HVT."

Posted by jim2 at January 4, 2010 12:04 PM ET:

Setrak -

I did not see mention of a child in the sources, other than the "grandson" reference. Was there another story that gave the age?

Posted by Zeissa at January 4, 2010 5:04 PM ET:

If it's true... a minor and necessary sacrifice.

Posted by Setrak at January 4, 2010 8:35 PM ET:

CNN, citing one source in the Pakistani government and another in the intelligence field;( http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/01/03/pakistan.bombing/index.html )
"A teacher and his 9-year-old son were killed Sunday night by a suspected U.S. drone, a Pakistani administration official and an intelligence official told CNN."

Posted by Bungo at January 5, 2010 7:20 AM ET:

I find it interesting that Pakistan intelligence officials are invariably "Johnny on the spot" after a missile strike to count and identify the dead, injured and un-killed. Sometimes within minutes! (or at least it seems). I thought these were isolated un-governable frontier areas with little to no government presence yet these boys seem to be everywhere, all the time. It makes me wonder. Anyone have any thoughts or information about this?

Posted by jim2 at January 5, 2010 9:21 AM ET:

Setrak -

Okay. The village spelling is different (degrading my google searches) in the two stories, but the names of the people look the same.

Posted by Cerberus at January 5, 2010 9:22 AM ET:

All children are born innocent and every death is tragic...but perhaps "teacher" is a soft euphamism. I wonder what sort of education is provided in a house that shelters and supports terrorists.

Posted by ArneFufkin at January 5, 2010 10:02 AM ET:

Just so I understand this correctly: CNN is labeling Sadiq Noor only as a "teacher"?