Pakistani Air Force strikes at 'militants' in North Waziristan, Khyber


The Pakistani military claimed it killed more than 35 "militants," including a number of fighters from Central Asia, during a series of airstrikes today in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. An additional 30 jihadists are reported to have been killed in airstrikes in the tribal agency of Khyber. The punitive raids were launched after the Movement of the Taliban executed 23 Frontier Corps troops.

The airstrikes in North Waziristan took place in the Datta Khel, Mir Ali, and Shawal areas, where al Qaeda and a number of jihadist groups are known to operate. The targets included a compound run by a commander known as Abu Sattar; a safe house for a Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan leader known as Abdur Razzak; and "Uzbek, Turkmen and Tajik hideouts," Dawn reported. An unnamed "Tajik commander" is said to have been killed in one of the strikes.

The Uzbeks, Turkmen, and Tajiks likely belong to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union, the Turkistan Islamic Party, or a number of other jihadist groups that also operate in North Waziristan under the protection of so-called "good Taliban" leaders from either the HaqqanI Network of the Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group. Pakistani military and intelligence officials view the Haqqanis and Bahadar as "good Taliban" as they do not advocate attacking the Pakistani state.

In Khyber, military officials claimed that "foreign fighters" are among the more than 30 killed in airstrikes in the Bara area, according to SAMAA. The Bara area of Khyber is a known safe haven for a multitude of Pakistani and Central Asia terror groups.

Pakistani officials claimed the airstrikes were retaliation for the execution of 23 Frontier Corps troops by Omar Khalid al Khurusani, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan's emir for the Mohmand tribal agency. Earlier this week, Omar Khalid said the Frontier Corps troops were killed to avenge the deaths of jihadists who had been killed by Pakistani forces while in custody.

Omar Khalid's announcement of the execution of the Pakistani troops was backed up by Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, who demanded that the execution of jihadists and dumping of their bodies be halted.

"Our fighters are being targeted, arrested and killed in fake police encounters. The government's negotiations team should ensure to our committee that this would immediately stop," Shahid said yesterday, according to Dawn.

Although the government is currently in peace negotiations with the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, jihadists continue to launch attacks against security forces, government officials, and civilians.



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani Air Force strikes at 'militants' in North Waziristan, Khyber"

Posted by Devendra sood at February 20, 2014 11:33 AM ET:

The Pak Military is chomping at the bits to go after these murderers as they know them very well. After all they raised theses vermin for their "Strategic Depth" Concept against India and in Afghanistan. The military knows there is only one way to deal with this pestilence. Eradicate them completely. They know that negotiation with these terrorists is akin to negotiating with the Cobra requesting it not to bite them if they allow it to live in their house.
It is the gutless, thoroughly corrupt politicians who use these terrorists for their own purposes are standing in the way of the Pak army. But, eventually would be helpless against the military which has had enough.

Posted by g.mallon at February 21, 2014 9:13 AM ET:

Why are drones not more active over Mohmand, Kyber and Bajaur? Even if they were only flying over to surveil the supply route to Afghanistan?

Posted by wallbangr at February 21, 2014 6:54 PM ET:

Need a good laugh? The Paks are protesting to the Afghan gov't that the 23 FC troopers were killed on Afghan soil.

From Pajhwok:

[http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2014/02/20/islamabad-protests-killing-soldiers-afghan-soil]:

"Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said Aziz urged Kabul to take prompt action to punish the perpetrators of the 'heinous and inhumane crime.'
In a statement, she said the adviser reminded Osmani of a recent agreement in Ankara that both sides would prevent the use of their territory against each other and take action against militants."

I love this feigned and self-righteous indignation from Islamabad. They give shelter to the Taliban on Pak territory, thus enabling the continued war against the Afghan government next door, and then have the gall to protest when it comes back to bite them. Shameless! Preventing the use of one's territory to be used for attacks against one's neighbors is precisely what the Paks have been doing for years. While I am hopeful that the Paks will finally realize that negotiating with extremists is a fool's errand, one would think they would come to the same conclusion about harboring such hardliners. Ah, well, as the saying goes, you reap what you sow