US strike kills 5 in North Waziristan

Unmanned US strike aircraft conducted yet another attack against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

Remotely piloted Predator or Reaper strike aircraft hit a Taliban safe house in the village of Tappi.

“The US drone fired two missiles on a house,” a senior Pakistani security official told AFP. “The house was completely destroyed. Five militants were killed and three were injured in the attack. A vehicle parked in the house was also destroyed.”

No senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders were reported killed. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not discuss the target of the attack.

The safe house was in a region that is controlled by Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the Taliban commander in North Waziristan. The Pakistani military signed a peace agreement with Bahadar even though he continues to shelter al Qaeda leaders and fighters, and sends his forces to battle the US and NATO in Afghanistan.

Today’s strike is the fourth this year and the fifth in nine days. It is also the fifth strike since an al Qaeda/Haqqani Network suicide bomber killed seven CIA officials, including the station chief, and a Jordanian intelligence officer, in an attack at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province. The outpost was used to gather intelligence for strikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

North Waziristan has become the focal point of the US air campaign in Pakistan. Since the Aug. 5 strike in South Waziristan that killed Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, 19 of the 23 reported airstrikes have taken place in North Waziristan, while the other four were in South Waziristan.

The US has had success targeting senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders over the past month. Abdullah Said al Libi, the leader of al Qaeda’s military organization known as the Lashkar al Zil; Saleh al Somali, the commander of the external network; Zuhaib al Zahib, a general in the Lashkar al Zil; and Haji Omar Khan, a Taliban commander, were killed in strikes in December. All four commanders were killed in North Waziristan.

US strikes in Pakistan in 2010:

US airstrike kills five in North Waziristan

Jan. 8, 2010

US kills 11 in latest North Waziristan strike

Jan. 6, 2010

US airstrike kills 2 Taliban fighters in Mir Ali in Pakistan

Jan. 3, 2010

US kills 3 Taliban in second strike in North Waziristan

Jan. 1, 2010

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