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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