Unmanned US strike aircraft killed six Taliban fighters during attacks in Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency of North Waziristan.
A flight of Predators or its more muscular brothers, the Reapers, hit a Taliban compound and two vehicles in the town of Tolkhel near Miramshah in North Waziristan. The Predators fired their missiles in two waves. Seven missiles total were fired, according to a report in Dawn.
The first strike hit a Taliban compound and vehicle, while the second strike appears to have hit during the Taliban’s attempt to recover the dead and wounded.
“Missiles hit a car carrying militants and as soon as other people rushed into help, more missiles were fired by drones,” a Pakistani security official told AFP.
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 that 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 third reported inside Pakistan this month, and the third in five days. On April 14, US aircraft fired two missiles on a vehicle near Miramshah as the Taliban fighters stopped to pray, killing four Taliban fighters.
US strikes in Pakistan, by the numbers
The US is well on its way in exceeding last year’s strike total in Pakistan. So far this year, the US has carried out 29 strikes in Pakistan; all of the strikes this year 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