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 prot