US Predators struck yet again in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
Six Taliban fighters, including some possibly from Afghanistan, were killed and five more were critically wounded in an attack on a compound in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan.
“Two US drones fired three missiles” at the compound, a Pakistani intelligence official told AFP. “We have reports that six militants were killed.”
The Taliban reportedly cordoned off the area and are attempting to recover the dead and wounded from the rubble. No senior Taliban, Haqqani Network, or al Qaeda commanders have been reported killed at this time.
Miramshah is in the sphere of influence of the Haqqani Network, the al Qaeda-linked Taliban group led by mujahedeen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj. The Haqqani family runs the Manba Ulom madrassa in Danda Darpa Khel, a village just outside of Miramshah that serves as a hub of activity for the terror group.
The strike is the fourth recorded in the past 24 hours. In the four strikes combined, 24 terrorists were reported killed. Earlier today, US Predators or the more powerful Reapers struck twice in Danda Darpa Khel and once in Datta Khel, a known hub for al Qaeda’s leadership.
North Waziristan is a known haven for the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and a host of Pakistani and Central and South Asian terror groups, but the Pakistani military has refused to carry out an operation to root them out. The Pakistani military maintains a garrison in Miramshah, but it is confined to base while the US is forced to carry out airstrikes against the terror groups.
The number of strikes is unprecedented, as the US has yet to carry out four strikes in a 24-hour period since the campaign began in 2004 and was ramped up in July 2008.
With today’s strikes, the US has carried out 62 attacks inside Pakistan 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. [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.]
All but six of this year’s 62 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.
Since July 2008, unmanned US Predator and Reaper strike aircraft have been pounding Taliban and al Qaeda hideouts in the tribal areas 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.]