US airstrike kills 10 in North Waziristan

Unmanned US strike aircraft fired missiles at a Taliban compound today in a known al Qaeda haven in the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan.

Two Predators, or the more deadly Reapers, fired four missiles at a compound in the village of Mohammed Khel, a known Taliban haven.

Six "terrorists" were initially reported killed in the attack, AFP reported, but it is unclear if they are Taliban fighters, al Qaeda operatives, or fighters from the multitude of jihadist groups operating in Pakistan's tribal areas. A later report indicated 10 were killed, including a woman and a child.

No senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders have been reported killed at this time.

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 jihadist groups shelter in Bahadar's tribal areas, and they also run training camps and safe houses in the region.

Despite the known presence of al Qaeda and other foreign groups in North Waziristan, 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. Bahadar and the Haqqanis are considered "good Taliban" by the Pakistani military establishment as they do not carry out attacks inside Pakistan.

Today's strike is the sixth reported inside Pakistan this month. So far this year, the US has carried out 37 strikes in Pakistan; all but one of the strikes this year have taken place in North Waziristan. The last airstrike, on May 15, occurred in the tribal agency of Khyber.

The US is well on its way to exceeding last year's strike total in Pakistan. 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."]

US strikes in Pakistan in 2010:

US airstrike kills 6 in North Waziristan
May 21, 2010
US Predators carry out first strike in Khyber
May 15, 2010
US pounds Taliban in pair of strikes in North Waziristan
May 11, 2010
US airstrike kills 10 'rebels' in North Waziristan
May 9, 2010
US airstrike kills 4 'militants' in North Waziristan
May 3, 2010
US strike kills 8 Taliban in North Waziristan
April 26, 2010
US airstrike kills 7 Taliban in North Waziristan
April 24, 2010
US strikes kill 6 in North Waziristan
April 16, 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 airstrike kills 10 in North Waziristan"

Posted by JRP at May 21, 2010 8:38 PM ET:

Again, the all too familiar "No senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders have been reported killed at this time." Meanwhile, one totally expendable suicide bomber recently took out an American Colonel and a Canadian Colonel plus others. So which side is really winning this WoT? We've got the means to win; the manpower to win; money appears to be no object as we seem to be showering the Pakistanis with it; so why are we losing?

Posted by Marlin at May 21, 2010 8:58 PM ET:

A few more details about the strike.

The house was owned by Khiyali Jan, a local tribeman who had rented it out to a militant group attached with Taliban-linked Afghan warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who is reputed to control up to 2,000 fighters who attack US-led forces over the border in Afghanistan, officials said.

Geo TV: US drone strike kills 6 near Miranshah

Posted by T Ruth at May 22, 2010 7:55 AM ET:

Talking about money being showered i tell you these Paks are utterly shameless. According to Dawn in Jones and Panettas recent visit there, the Paks were begging again for more money

"Pakistan sought an increase in financial and development assistance. It told the US officials that the American aid should go simultaneously to different sectors, but the latter were non-committal to the demand."

Any normal country would've been a little embarassed and contrite, if not reflective, in the immediate aftermath of TSq. Not this beggar-nation.

Now the thing is how do you reconcile Pak's massive don't-push-me-around Machiavellian ego with their willingness to ask for yet more money at the drop of a hat?

The answer is that the latter is their true character (lazy leeches, completely not industrious), the former is just a show of bravado (although appearing aggressive and threatening is in their nature.) Somebody needs to call their bluff!

As for Waziristan, nothing sovereign about it.

The conditions are ripe for a war. Today's choice will be tomorrows necessity.

Posted by Marlin at May 22, 2010 9:27 AM ET:

The death and casualty toll has risen.

The death toll of missile strike by US drones in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) has reached to 10.


Ten people including women and a five-year old girl were killed and several others present in the house sustained injuries in the attack. The injured and bodies were rushed to tehsil Miranshah Agency headquarter hospital where three were reported in a critical state.

Geo TV: NWA drone attack toll mounts to 10

Posted by kp at May 22, 2010 6:37 PM ET:


We generally don't get to know if a HVT was killed in an attack until much later (with Taliban/AQ chatter, HUMINT or jihadi website memorials).

But even then unless you know the reason for the strike (and unless you work at the CIA and you don't) you have no idea who or what was targeted: training camp for Westerners; muster point for Afghani attacks; bomb makers location; logistics, financial or C3 group; members of a particular org; a meeting between multiple groups. In each of these you wouldn't always kill a HVT but you would seriously degrade the oppositions forces with the hit.

One thing we can be sure about this isn't random Taliban "plinking".

Posted by kp at June 1, 2010 11:33 AM ET:

And now we know who the target was ...

"Mustafa Abu Yazid, who is also known as Sheikh Saeed al Masri, was killed in the May 21 Predator strike in the village of Mohammed Khel in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. Datta Khel is a known al Qaeda hub in North Waziristan."