US kills 6 in strike against Haqqani Network


The US launched yet another airstrike in Pakistan's Taliban controlled-tribal agency of North Waziristan, the fifth in the region in eight days.

The deadly unmanned Predators and Reapers strike aircraft targeted a vehicle inside a compound run by the Haqqani Network in Machis, just outside the main town of Miramshah. Six terrorists have been reported killed in the strike.

"We have confirmation of four deaths, so far," a Pakistani official told Reuters. "The death toll could be more." The count was later revised to six killed and three wounded.

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

Today's airstrike in North Waziristan is the fifth in the Taliban and al Qaeda haven since March 16. The last attack took place in the Datta Khel region on March 21. Four Taliban fighters were reported killed in that attack.

The two latest strikes put the March total at seven. So far this year, the US has carried out 24 strikes in Pakistan; all of them have taken place in North Waziristan. In 2009, the US carried out 53 strikes in Pakistan; and in 2008, the US carried out 36 strikes in the country. [For up-to-date charts on the US air campaign in Pakistan, see: Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2010.]

Unmanned US Predator and Reaper strike aircraft have been pounding Taliban and al Qaeda hideouts in North Waziristan over the past several months in an effort to kill senior terror leaders and disrupt the networks that threaten Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the West. [For more information, see LWJ report, "Senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2010."]

Most recently, on March 8, a US strike in a bazaar in Miramshah killed a top al Qaeda operative known as Sadam Hussein Al Hussami.

Hussami was a protégé of Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda's top bomb maker and WMD chief, who was killed in a US airstrike in July 2008. Hussami was a senior member of al Qaeda's external operations network. He was on a council that advised the suicide bomber who carried out the attack at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. That attack killed seven CIA officials and a Jordanian intelligence officer. The slain intelligence operatives were involved in gathering intelligence for the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban leaders along the Afghan-Pakistani border.



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READER COMMENTS: "US kills 6 in strike against Haqqani Network"

Posted by No Shura Thing at March 23, 2010 3:39 PM ET:

It's funny (and quite wonderful), but I can't recall the last time I heard of a U.S. or U.N. coalition soldier being killed in Afghanistan.

Perhaps I've simply missed the reports.

Or perhaps "whackin' and stackin" these soulless, Godless, murderous Islamist vermin en masse via our Reapers and Predators is seriously crippling their ability to commit further atrocities....

Posted by TMP at March 23, 2010 10:11 PM ET:

We just lost a Navy SEAL in a fierce firefight a couple days ago.

Posted by Dnte1020 at March 23, 2010 11:26 PM ET:

@TMP

Do you have a link?

Posted by JRP at March 24, 2010 1:07 AM ET:

Is killing Taliban members getting us any closer to nailing the AQ leadership? Who is protecting AQ? Taliban? Pakistan? Both? Even a third party? Someone or some entity is protecting AQ and it is astonishing that after all this time since 9/11 we haven't a clue as to where Bin Ladin and Z are hiding. I don't think the Taliban is a threat to the U.S.A. Only AQ is a threat to us. We ought to be negotiating with whomever can deliver up AQ and then get the hell out of South Asia taking AQ and that Ghadan with us.

Posted by tyrone at March 24, 2010 6:12 AM ET:

Seems to me the mainstream media is less interested in counting American death's lately. I have wondered if it is because they like the current Administration and did not like the last one. Or perhaps if it might be that they approve of Afghanistan and did not approve of Iraq. Or maybe it is the remoteness of the conflict (who wants to go and live without electricity and try to report this stuff? yuck ;) ). But, I do think there is a bit of a lack of interest in anything but the spectacular. There was a lot more of the sensational in Iraq.

Posted by Lorenz Gude at March 24, 2010 10:13 AM ET:

I think it is fair to say that most MSM reporting of the war is an attempt to control domestic perceptions of the war. That is the 20th industrial age model of centralized control of information and exercising the power that control gives. Which is why I read Bill and Michael Yon to get an independent view of what is happening. It is not that they too don't have a point of view - all of us do - but rather that they don't see themselves as gatekeeers but know they are one voice of many on a network.

Posted by T Ruth at March 24, 2010 10:43 AM ET:

JRP, very good questions.

Kayani is in town they say with a 55-page shopping list which includes power plants, including nuclear power, solutions for drinking water, and military equipment, including armed drones.

I'd say he's the man to negotiate with. They say he can pull rabbits out of a hat. As he did with Baradar & Co.

Personally, i wouldn't give them another penny. But everybody's talking deals--its either the season or Obama's way of doing things, or both. So i would give them nuclear power in exchange for their nuclear arsenal and the whole of AQ and LeT which is AQ 2.0. In addition i would give them a nuclear security agreement vis a vis India and maybe tomorrow Iran and whoever else.

But OBL would be really stupid to be hanging around in Pakistan in this season even with ISI protection, that is if he is alive.

Posted by ArneFufkin at March 24, 2010 1:02 PM ET:

Anyone who wishes to follow the ongoing sacrifices of our fallen heroes can do so at http://www.defense.gov/releases/ and a cumulative total at http://www.defense.gov/news/casualty.pdf

Posted by kp at March 24, 2010 2:25 PM ET:

You should check the "Today In..." column on the front page that has a good daily report.

And wikipedia keeps a good running total

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Forces_casualties_in_the_war_in_Afghanistan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Forces_casualties_in_Afghanistan_since_2001

They do lag a bit though.

I suspect the reduced press interest in deaths is its rather more difficult to argue against the War in Afghanistan. One can argue that Iraq was Bush's Folly but even to those of a less anti-war view the Afghanistan War as a direct result of an attack on the US.

The absolute number is also less currently 914 deaths in Afghanistan versus 4,296 in Iraq. And we are in Afghanistan for 18 months longer so the monthly death rate is well below the peak rate for Iraq (but increasing during the Surge).

Curiously were coming to a minimum in the death rate ... April seems to be the least cruel month. I have no idea why? Weather perhaps though the monsoon doesn't arrive until June?

Posted by Bungo at March 24, 2010 4:13 PM ET:

You are certainly right JRP. As much as I loathe the Taliban, Al Queda is the only real threat to the U.S. If Al Queda weren't in Pakistan (or Afghanistan) the Taliban could have the whole stinking place as far as I care, just like before 9/11. In fact that only proves how stupid the Taliban's leadership is. If they just gave up UBL and Zawahiri and purged the rest of the rank and file out of the area they could grow all the opium poppies they ever wanted in complete peace. Let the Taliban be Pakistan's problem and Afghanistan's problem. The West sure isn't getting anything from these countries.

Posted by Rhyno327 at March 24, 2010 4:25 PM ET:

Hey, im all 4 baggin' and taggin' 'em too, but I think the only way outta this is a political settlement. Omar and his cretins get a share of gov., we get AQ and OBL. Fair trade? There is no shortage of young men, high and drunk on RELIGION, that will fight. Karzai is a carpetbagger, thief, drug dealer. We gotta make this summer hell for the talibs, negotiate from a pos of strength, and get the hell outta there. The "Big One" is brewing as we speak..

Posted by blacktiger at March 24, 2010 4:47 PM ET:

For those interested, the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) has a page with a break-down of British fatalities in Afghanistan:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInAfghanistanBritishFatalities.htm

Posted by jayc at March 24, 2010 8:07 PM ET:

T Ruth had an interesting comment about the 55 page shopping list. I wished I had kept an old article which talked about textiles. Apparently, fromer Pres Musharraf was due in town and one of the political pundits stated that he would try and push Pak textiles as part of a deal. Guess what? He did. Expect to see more of the cotton shirts with the tag "Made in Pakistan" at you local blue light special.

Posted by Brent at March 25, 2010 12:33 AM ET:

Bungo,

Shortly before 9/11 Ahmed Shah Massoud tried to warn the world that the Taliban and AQ had married and their was no difference between the two. In the early days of the Taliban's rule, the U.S. (Clinton Administration) and Saudi Arabia had tried for years to get the Taliban to hand over UBL and failed. Yes the Taliban could have given up UBL and all the AQ goons after 9/11 when faced with U.S. military might, but they didn't. They did not turn them over because the Taliban is just as religiously fanatic and extreme as AQ. Over the course of the Afghan war, if anything the Taliban has become MORE extreme and closely linked with AQ. Take for example their new use of suicide bombers. Our war in Afghanistan IS against the Taliban. If they rule Afghanistan or Pakistan, or wherever they have their sights set, they will harbor AQ. It is a double edged sword, to defeat AQ you first must defeat those who wish to harbor them and provide them with safe haven. From the late 1990's until present day people have made the mistake of thinking they could steer the Taliban away from Bin Laden. All of them have failed. By understanding the history of this, you can understand the present.

Posted by T Ruth at March 25, 2010 11:57 AM ET:

Brent, what you say is irrefutable.

I fear that the US negotiator-proponents are well aware of this. But to borrow a phrase from General Sir Lamb, are they not being pragmatists, tying themselves to the probability of outcomes, ie you can't have both AQ and the Taliban out of the picture as a final outcome.

Also, i find it very hard to believe that the Taliban would sincerely give up on AQ, unless if it is true that OBL is dead OR has already arranged another safe haven. If the new-improved gentler-kinder Taliban come back to power in Afghanistan, shared or otherwise, they would've already achieved that territorial objective and legitimacy. The Pak Taliban will reinvigorate and take or break Pakistan, whose fate is yet to decided (status quo is untenable for a complex myriad of reasons). AQ will take the fight globally. LeT, by whatever name, will be the external arm out of AfPak, with madrassas, training camps, bomb-making facilities (including breast-implant-explosives), mullahs all intact for AQ's supply-line.

The billion-dollar question is who will control Pak's nuclear arsenal?

Posted by Bungo at March 25, 2010 1:55 PM ET:

Brent.Thanks for the history lesson but rest assured I am quite schooled in these matters. Points> If all Al Queda left the AfPak area tomorrow I feel confident we would be leaving very quickly. The only reason to hang around might be the ostensible objective to gear up the Af security forces (which I doubt can be achieved in less than 5 to 10 years) or to somehow babysit the Af government. Otherwise there's little or anything to be gained, especially if Pak continues to be complacent about the Talib in their own country. Like I said, without the AQ component the Talib is Af's, Pak's and India's problem. I hate to nitpick but since I'm already typing, I will : You inasmuch said yourself that the main reason we're engaging the Talib is because they're harboring AQ. That was my whole point! As far as Mullah's and madrassas, they're all over the Moslem world. In fact, by the time foreigners arrive in Pak they have already been radicalized and vetted and go to Pak usually just to attend the Pak located AQ training camps for weapons and explosives training, further indoctrination and assignments. Again, no AQ training camps in AfPak and we're outta there.