US kills 11 in Predator strike in South Waziristan


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 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 early April, Siraj Haqqani, the leader of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, said that the effectiveness of US airstrikes in killing senior Taliban and al Qaeda leaders had "decreased 90 percent" since the suicide attack on Combat Outpost Chapman. While other factors may be involved in the decreased effectiveness in killing the top-tier leaders, an analysis of the data shows that only two top-tier commanders have been killed since Jan 1, 2010, but seven top-tier leaders were killed between Aug.1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2009. [See LWJ report, "Effectiveness of US strikes in Pakistan 'decreased 90 percent' since suicide strike on CIA - Siraj Haqqani," for more information.]

For the past few months, most US and Pakistani officials believed that Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, had been killed in a Jan. 14 strike in Pasalkot in North Waziristan. But recently, after four months of silence on the subject, the Taliban released two tapes to prove that Hakeemullah is alive. On the tapes, Hakeemullah said the Taliban will carry out attacks inside the US.

US strikes in Pakistan in 2010:

US kills 11 in Predator strike in South Waziristan
May 28, 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



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READER COMMENTS: "US kills 11 in Predator strike in South Waziristan"

Posted by natej740 at May 28, 2010 1:24 PM ET:

Headline from the other day "The leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan agrees to abandon the safe havens in North Waziristan and return to South Waziristan."

LMAO!!! Hunt them all down like the animals they are.

Posted by Mark at May 28, 2010 2:50 PM ET:

re: "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".

So Mr. Alston what "accountability" does the Taliban have when they blow up schools for girls? Where is your outrage over Taliban targeting civilians? These people appear to want to do everything possible to help the enemies of the Western World.


Posted by JRP at May 28, 2010 6:45 PM ET:

In my opinion, and I don't know anything about this Philip Alston beyond what I read in the reporting, but I assume he's of that kind of people who tend to be hypercritical of our side regardless of what we do, because they have no will to confront the other side at all, if force is involved. They are egotistical enough to believe that their powers of non-violent persuasion are so good that sooner or later any enemy can be talked out of doing whatever it is they are doing; that violent reply is never necessary. Europe's pre-WWII Jewish population was heavily populated by this kind of mentality and look where it got them. It explains why today, Israel can sometimes be so inclined to use force rather than negotiation. I've got news for people like Mr. Alston, if he be of that type who can never condone violence . . . The meek will never inherit the Earth.