The US killed 11 terrorists in airstrikes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency of South Waziristan. The strike is the first in the tribal agency this year.
The strike, which was carried out by unmanned Predators or the more deadly Reapers, targeted “militant hideouts” in the Nezai Narai area in South Waziristan, according to Geo News. It is unclear if the strike targeted al Qaeda, the Taliban, or allied Central Asian terror groups known to operate in the tribal agency.
No senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders have been reported killed at this time.
The attack took place just one day after Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, called for the CIA to end the strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Alston claimed the program is not subject to accountability that would exist under a program run by the US military.
“With the Defense Department you’ve got maybe not perfect but quite abundant accountability as demonstrated by what happens when a bombing goes wrong in Afghanistan,” Alston said in an interview with The New York Times. “The whole process that follows is very open. Whereas if the C.I.A. is doing it, by definition they are not going to answer questions, not provide any information, and not do any follow-up that we know about.”
Alston’s comments follow criticisms of the CIA program earlier this year by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a lawsuit against the the Defense Department, the State Department, and the Justice Department, demanding enforcement of its January request for information on the program.
The US government has defended the air campaign in Pakistan, and insisted the program is in line with international laws of war and remains accountable to the US Congress.
Background on US strikes in Pakistan
Today’s strike is the seventh reported inside Pakistan this month. So far this year, the US has carried out 38 strikes in Pakistan; all but two of the strikes this year, including today’s, have taken place in North Waziristan. An airstrike on May 15 occurred in the Tirah Valley 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 LWJ Special Report, “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