US strikes kill 6 in North Waziristan

The US struck a Taliban safe house in the lawless tribal agency of North Waziristan as the Pakistani military continues to target the Taliban in nearby Arakzai.

At least three missiles were reported to have been fired from an unmanned Predator or Reaper on a compound known to house Taliban fighters in the village of Tapi, near Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

"A US drone attack targeted a compound owned by Zamir Khan, a local tribesman, and used by militants," a Pakistani security official said, according to The News. "Two missiles were fired." A second unmanned strike aircraft fired a third missile into the compound shortly after the first attack, a Pakistani official said.

Six terrorists were reported killed in the two missile strikes, but no senior Taliban or al Qaeda fighters have been identified as being among those killed.

Tapi is a known haven for the Haqqani Network, the Taliban group that operates in eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network has close ties to al Qaeda; Siraj Haqqani, the group's military commander, sits on al Qaeda's top shura, and the network trains and utilizes suicide bombers for attacks in Afghanistan.

The US last struck in Tapi on Feb. 17. That attack killed Sheikh Mansoor, a commander in al Qaeda's Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army. Mansoor was based in North Waziristan but carried out attacks against US and Afghan forces across the border in Afghanistan.

The latest US strike in Pakistan puts the March total at nine. Since the air campaign heated up in August of 2008, the US has averaged between five and seven strikes a month.

So far this year, the US has carried out 26 strikes in Pakistan; all of the strikes 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, and 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 had been involved in gathering intelligence for the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban leaders along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

In the neighboring tribal agency of Arakzai, the Pakistani military continues its air offensive against Taliban groups operating there. The military claimed that 35 Taliban fighters were killed in the latest round of helicopter strikes against Taliban bunkers and safe houses in the tribal agency.

Since the fighting began on March 21, the military has claimed that more than 150 Taliban fighters have been killed. Nonetheless, the Taliban have still massed for several attacks against the paramilitary Frontier Corps units operating in Arakzai.

Over the weekend, more than 100 Taliban fighters launched an assault on a Frontier Corps outpost and overran it, killing a lieutenant colonel and four troops. The military retook the outpost after a several-hour-long battle. A day later, the Taliban massed to attack another outpost, but the attack was repelled.

On several occasions over the past year, the Pakistani military has claimed to have restored order in regions in Arakzai, but the Taliban have retaken control after security forces have withdrawn.

The military has also launched limited operations in neighboring Khyber and Kurram. The Taliban still control large regions in these two tribal areas, and remain in full control of North Waziristan.

US strikes in Pakistan in 2010:

US strikes kill 6 in North Waziristan
March 30, 2010
US strike kills 4 in North Waziristan
March 27, 2010
US kills 6 in strike against Haqqani Network
March 23, 2010
US strike kills 4 in North Waziristan
March 21, 2010
US kills 8 terrorists in 2 new airstrikes in North Waziristan
March 17, 2010
US Predator strike in North Waziristan kills 11 Taliban, al Qaeda
March 16, 2010
US airstrike kills 12 in North Waziristan
March 10, 2010
US airstrike in North Waziristan kills 5 Taliban fighters
March 8, 2010
US hits Haqqani Network in North Waziristan, kills 8
Feb. 24, 2010
US airstrikes target Haqqani Network in North Waziristan
Feb. 18, 2010
Latest US airstrike kills 3 in North Waziristan
Feb. 17, 2010
US strike kills 4 in North Waziristan
Feb. 15, 2010
US strikes training camp in North Waziristan
Feb. 14, 2010
Predators pound terrorist camp in North Waziristan
Feb. 2, 2010
US airstrike targets Haqqani Network in North Waziristan
Jan. 29, 2010
US airstrike in North Waziristan kills 6
Jan. 19, 2010
Latest US airstrike in Pakistan kills 20
Jan. 17, 2010
US strikes kill 11 in North Waziristan
Jan. 15, 2010
US airstrike hits Taliban camp in North Waziristan
Jan. 14, 2010
US airstrike kills 4 Taliban fighters in North Waziristan
Jan. 9, 2010
US airstrike kills 5 in North Waziristan
Jan. 8, 2010
US kills 17 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


READER COMMENTS: "US strikes kill 6 in North Waziristan"

Posted by William Dames at April 1, 2010 11:20 AM ET:

Boy are they hitting these guys. I wonder where there intel is coming from because it is good. Can't be much fun being a bad guy these days.