US Predators kill 15 'militants' in pair of strikes in North Waziristan


[Updated to include new information from the second strike in Data Khel.]

Unmanned US strike aircraft attacked compounds in two separate strikes today in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

In the first attack, US Predators or the more deadly Reapers fired two missiles at a compound near Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan, according to Dawn.

Six "local militants" are reported to have been killed in the strike. No senior terrorist leader has been reported killed at this time.

"All those killed were local militants, we have no report about the presence of any 'high-value' target," an intelligence official told AFP.

Miramshah is the headquarters of the Haqqani Network, the al Qaeda-linked Taliban subgroup that operates in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In a second strike, US aircraft hit a compound (Dawn claimed it was a vehicle) in the town of Data Khel. Samaa TV stated that nine Taliban fighters, including a commander known as Inayatullah, were killed in the strike, which targeted the home of Gul Adam.

Data Khel is the stronghold of Hafiz Gul Bahadar, a Taliban commander who, like the Haqqanis, is viewed as "good Taliban" by the Pakistani military as he does not advocate attacks on the Pakistani state. The Haqqanis and Bahadar support attacks in Afghanistan and shelter al Qaeda fighters.

Today's strikes make for 56 attacks this year. The US exceeded last year's strike total of 53 with a strike in Kurram late last month. In 2008, the US carried out 36 strikes inside Pakistan.

All but six of this year's 56 strikes have taken place in North Waziristan. Of the six strikes that have occurred outside of North Waziristan, four took place in South Waziristan, one occurred in Khyber, and one took place in Kurram.



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READER COMMENTS: "US Predators kill 15 'militants' in pair of strikes in North Waziristan"

Posted by kp at September 3, 2010 1:08 PM ET:

CNN says 2 missiles with 2 killed and the strike is at Darpa khel (just outside Miramshah). I think there has been a previous strike in this village.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/09/03/pakistan.drone/#fbid=CbQh45yjI38&wom=falseDawn is saying 3 missiles hitting a house killing 5.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/12-us+missiles+kill+five+in+north+waziristan--bi-02

AFP is saying 6 militants killed and 3 wounded from 2 missiles. "Soon after the attack, militants surrounded the house and started rescue work, residents in Miranshah said. They have recovered six dead bodies and three injured from the debris"

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g2JGVZHRLji_6ewlaARi_8JNh5fg

Samma TV says "at least" 9 killed. "house of Gul Adam in Matches Factory area of Datakhel, killing nine suspected terrorists and injuring several others. The targeted house was completely destroyed. The death toll may rise"

http://www.samaa.tv/News25025-Missile_strikes_kill_9_militants_in_NWA_.aspx

Looks like decent sized attack.

Posted by kp at September 3, 2010 1:28 PM ET:

This Iranian Press TV report (essentially Iranian government line) has a another attack on a vehicle mentioned.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/141089.html

Quote: "The second attack targeted a car travelling through a small town some 30 kilometers east of Miranshah. "US drones fired three missiles at the car, killing at least four militants inside the car," the official added"

This hasn't been mentioned anywhere else.

Perhaps this is the one at Danda Darpa Khel?

A LWJ says: "The US has struck at targets in Danda Darpa Khel six times since Aug. 20, 2009, and eight times since September 2008"

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/08/us_airstrike_targets_5.php

It's interesting to look at Google satellite images of Miramshah. There is a a big (Pakistani) military base and airstrip. I presume this is where the CIA base Shawshank was.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Darpa+Khel,+north+waziristan,+Pakistan&hl=en&client=safari&ie=UTF8&hq=Darpa+Khel,+north+waziristan,+Pakistan&hnear=&radius=15000&t=h&ll=33.001857,70.075119&spn=0.004269,0.004957&z=18

For example, see this from a year ago on how the CIA worked in Miramshah.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6826701.ece

Posted by Render at September 4, 2010 6:42 PM ET:

Imagery dates for the area around Miram Shah are all from May to September of 2009, fairly recent vintage.

There is a PAF cadet college and an Army public school in Miram Shah. I think they might be co-located near the airfield, but not certain.

Try these co-ordinates...

32 degrees 59'05.31 N 69 degrees 58'38.75 E

About 5.29 miles due west of the southern tip of the airfield. I see a madrassah with its own private helicopter pad.

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The area below the southern end of that airfield looks like a convention of used car and jingle truck lots. The rest of the region is relatively car/jingle truck free. Traffic patterns look strange. Stranger then they did in the footage from 2008 and 2007. Was there some kind of holiday/festival/union meeting on June 3rd, 2009 in Miram Shah?

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