US strike kills 4 in Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan

Unmanned US strike aircraft have hit the Taliban in North Waziristan for the second time in three days, after a nearly two-week lull in attacks.

The unmanned Predators or Reapers fired two Hellfire missiles at a car in the village of Ambor Shaga near Miramshah.

"Four militants were killed in the missile strike," a Pakistani intelligence official told AFP. Three other militants were reported to have been wounded. The Taliban fighters had pulled the car over to pray, according to a report in The Associated Press.

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

Today's airstrike took place in a region administered by North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar. Al Qaeda and allied Pakistani and Central Asian jihadi groups shelter in Bahadar's tribal areas, and they also run training camps and safe houses in the region. The Pakistani military has indicated it has no plans to take on Bahadar or the Haqqani Network, a deadly Taliban group that is closely allied with al Qaeda and is also based in North Waziristan.

Today's strike is the second reported inside Pakistan this month, and the second in three days. On April 12, US aircraft fired two missiles on a compound run by a known local Taliban leader in the village of Boya, near Miramshah, killing five Taliban fighters.

US strikes in Pakistan, by the numbers

So far this year, the US has carried out 28 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 to target Taliban groups operating there. Two days ago, 41 Taliban fighters were reported killed after massing to assault military outposts manned by the Frontier Corps; two Frontier Corps troops were also killed in the fighting. According to press reports, the military has claimed that 419 Taliban fighters have been killed in air, artillery, and ground attacks in Arakzai since March 21.

The Pakistani military also claimed recently that 15 Taliban fighters, including a "local commander" named Qari Usman and "foreigners," had been killed after assaulting an Army outpost in South Waziristan. "Those killed included nationals from Saudi Arabia, Chechnya and Uzbekistan," Geo News reported. The military stated that one soldier had been killed in the attack.

US strikes in Pakistan in 2010:

US strike kills 4 in Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan
April 14, 2010
US strike kills 5 Taliban in North Waziristan
April 12, 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 strike kills 4 in Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan"

Posted by Ammo Guy at April 14, 2010 11:18 AM ET:

Stopped to pray? you suppose they were tipped off? Probably something along the lines of "please don't let any of the 72 virgins look like Helen Thomas" - OTOH I suppose I should be more respectful of the recently departed, so may they rest in pieces.

Posted by T Ruth at April 14, 2010 2:53 PM ET:

Never spare a bender... ^_^

Posted by Paul at April 14, 2010 4:56 PM ET:

I think this is great! Hit em anytime, anywhere.
Put the fear of the real God in them!

Posted by DANNY at April 15, 2010 1:48 AM ET:

Seems pretty clear the answer to what those scumbags were praying about was: NO! Maybe the rest of them should heed the voice from above... Least God call fire down from heaven and consume all of them at once, Oh wait that comes later when they come to remove Israel from the land He swore to give them. Not a good sign for AQ and their cohorts by any stretch of the imagination. Bah Barbarians!

Posted by BraddA at April 15, 2010 3:45 AM ET:

So their last thoughts were "Hey, did you guys just see those two bright flashes in the sky? Oh great, we're going to get see Allah!!!! Finally!!!!!!"

Posted by No Shura Thing at April 15, 2010 8:46 AM ET:

Oh, the delicious irony....

"Allah, protect us from the the great western Satan, the United St-- ***BOOOOM!!!!!***

Martyrdom's a booger, ain't it boys?


Posted by AL at April 15, 2010 10:00 AM ET:

The Moro uprising and the Malay insurrection were crushed by arming and training locals to defend themselves. Like a "Second Amendment" in action.

In the long run, they will need to step up thenselves. It may be long and bloody, but it will need to happen. We can't be there for everyone forever.

Just my opinion.