US drones strike in North Waziristan, end 2-month pause


Unmanned US attack aircraft struck in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan today, ending a nearly two-month-long pause in strikes that have targeted al Qaeda and Taliban leaders and fighters.

The Predator or Reaper drones launched a pair of missiles at a compound on the outskirts of Miramshah, the main town in the terrorist haven of North Waziristan, according to Geo News. Four "militants" were killed and the compound was set ablaze.

The identities of those killed have not been disclosed. Three "Arabs" are said to be among those killed, according to Pajwhok Afghan News.

The Haqqani Network, a Taliban group that operates in North Waziristan as well as in eastern Afghanistan, administers the area where today's strike took place. Al Qaeda leaders and operatives also shelter in the area.

Today's strike is the first by the US in Pakistan in 55 days. The last strike took place on Nov. 16, 2011. The pause was the longest since the program was ramped up at the end of July 2008 [see LWJ report, US drone strikes in Pakistan on longest pause since 2008, from Dec. 19, 2011].

The program was put on hold after US and Pakistan Frontier Corps troops clashed in the Afghan province of Kunar and the Pakistani tribal area of Mohmand on Nov. 25-26. US troops struck in Pakistan after taking mortar and machine gun fire on the Afghan side of the border from Pakistani troops. Twenty-four Pakistani Frontier Corps troops were killed.

The clash led to Pakistan's closure of the border crossings in Chaman and Khyber to NATO supply columns destined for Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the Mohmand incident, Pakistan also threatened to shoot down US drones flying in Pakistani airspace.

US officials told The Long War Journal on Dec. 12, 2011 that the program was put "on hold" due to tensions over the Mohmand incident, but that the drones would strike again if a high value terrorist target that could not be ignored was spotted.



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READER COMMENTS: "US drones strike in North Waziristan, end 2-month pause"

Posted by Mr. Noboy at January 10, 2012 9:06 PM ET:

Does this signal game on for drone strikes or was there such a high value target individual at the location that they authorized a strike?

Posted by evenhead at January 10, 2012 10:57 PM ET:

I don't think they've restarted the program (though I don't know, they may have) but didn't air force or some government entity say something along the lines that if a high value target came along then they would make a strike?

Posted by Vimal Mohan, Former DIG, Border Security Force, India. at January 10, 2012 11:36 PM ET:

It is a nice and an effective attack after 19th Dec, 2011. I feel a Christmas Break was needed. back to ops; one should not give them time to reorganise.
Winters may help to catch these guys confined to specific locations. Nice inputs can give good results.

Posted by NUS at January 11, 2012 2:42 AM ET:

Good Job!

Now that Taliban are begging for dialogue with U.S. through their office in Qatar, it is a good idea to continue pounding them. A victorious opponent always has the advantage to push its demands into enemy's throat.

Posted by Chris at January 11, 2012 3:27 AM ET:

Im assuming we hit a HVT, could there be any other reason to end the 2 month strike drought?

Posted by David at January 11, 2012 4:40 AM ET:

Why did we ever stop this program is beyond me?

Posted by mike merlo at January 11, 2012 1:48 PM ET:

sounds like the Pakistani's came ah beggin agin with their hat(turban?) in hand lookin fer sum help

Posted by JRP at January 11, 2012 2:11 PM ET:

Most likely no HVT. Pakistan has been taking it on the chin lately from so-called "bad Taliban" and probably asked us to use our drone technology to help them out. Frankly, this is typical in that part of the World where, without a hint of irony, we are expected to assist them without getting anything in return. Look at the thanks we got for rescuing Iranians held captive by pirates . . . Death sentence for Arizona-born man who served his country in the USMC and went to visit his Grandmother in Iran. I'm gagging on the hipocrisy!

Posted by Devin Leonard at January 11, 2012 5:56 PM ET:

This is good news, apparently the Pakis have gotten the message that not having us do drone strikes is bad for them in particular. It looks like the Al Qaida, Taliban and Haqqanni boys are going to be peeing themselves again as we ramp up our drone hits and Spec Ops night raids again:)

Posted by Charu at January 12, 2012 1:15 AM ET:

Sounds like the check cleared.

Posted by Zeissa at January 19, 2012 7:54 AM ET:

The US is strong in some ways... but it is weak in others.

It is weakness to allow the death of your own citizen to a government that takes your assistance in maritime, military and economic affairs.