8 more 'militants' killed in pair of drone strikes in North Waziristan


The US has launched three drone strikes in the past 24 hours in an area known as a terrorist haven in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

In the first of the two most recent strikes, the remotely piloted Predators or the more advanced Reapers fired several missiles at two vehicles in the Mana area in the Shawal Valley in North Waziristan, according to AFP and Geo News. Five drones were seen circling over the attack site before and after the strike.

Pakistani officials said that between four and seven "militants" were killed in the strike, but did not disclose their identities.

In the second of the pair of strikes, two more "militants" were killed while conducting recovery operations at the scene of the previous strike.

Although no senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders were reported killed, the pace of the strikes indicates that the one or more high value targets were the focus of the attacks.

The US has now launched three strikes in Shawal in the past 24 hours. On Saturday, the drones hit a compound in the village of Shuwedar in the Shawal Valley in North Waziristan, killing six "militants," according to Pakistani officials. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry objected to the Shuwedar strike, and called the US incursions "a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity and also in contravention of international law," according to Dawn.

Al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and Taliban fighters under the command of Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the leader of the Taliban in North Waziristan, are all known to operate in the Shawal Valley, which is near the Afghan border. Bahadar administers the Shawal Valley. The area is used to launch attacks across the border in Afghanistan. [For more information on the Shawal Valley, see LWJ report, US drones kill 6 'militants' in Pakistan's Shawal Valley.]

So far this year, eight of the 31 drone strikes in Pakistan have hit targets in the Shawal Valley. Targeting in the area seems to be increasing; six of the past eight strikes have taken place in the Shawal Valley. The previous strike in Shawal, on July 23, killed 12 "militants," including a Taliban commander loyal to Hafiz Gil Bahadar. Another, on July 1, is said to have killed several members of the Turkistan Islamic Party, an al Qaeda-affiliated group that operates in Pakistan, China, and Central Asia.

Thirteen of the 31 strikes in Pakistan this year have taken place since the beginning of June; 11 occurred in North Waziristan and two were in South Waziristan. Four senior al Qaeda and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leaders were killed in the strikes. [For data on the strikes, see LWJ reports, Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2012; and Senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2012.]



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READER COMMENTS: "8 more 'militants' killed in pair of drone strikes in North Waziristan"

Posted by Joker at August 19, 2012 7:15 AM ET:

As the troop drawn down continues we will see a lot more of drones, particularly in Eastern Afghanistan/Pakistan border area. Pretty effective, limits the insurgents movements and makes their operations more difficult.

Posted by m3fd2002 at August 19, 2012 11:27 AM ET:

It seems that intel has indications of a "big fish" in the area. President Obama would love to get al zawahiri before the election. So you can expect a concerted effort in the coming weeks.

Posted by Cliff Ross at August 19, 2012 6:39 PM ET:

Use all the UAV's necessary ! Get Our Troops O U T N O W !

Posted by JT at August 22, 2012 10:35 PM ET:

Cliff - With the probable exception of small numbers of special ops, that there are no US troops in Pakistan. If you are advocating using drones a lot in Afghanistan, I tend to agree.