Pakistan strikes two al Qaeda camps in North Waziristan

Artillery, helicopters assault two camps near the Afghan border

As the security situation in North Waziristan and the greater Northwest Frontier Province deteriorates, the Pakistani military launched an assault on two “militant” bases near the Afghan border. The military struck two Taliban and al Qaeda bases in the village of Daygan with artillery and Cobra gunship helicopters. “No ground forces were used in the assault,” the Associated Press reported. The attack, which occurred 10 miles west of Miramshah, lasted four hours.

Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the chief spokesman for the Pakistani military, said the attacks in North Waziristan are not linked to the Camp David talks between President George Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, where the situation in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province was a focal point. Since the release of the National Intelligence Estimate this summer, which stated the Northwest Frontier Province has become an al Qaeda haven, there have been conflicting statements on whether the US would take unilateral action against al Qaeda inside Pakistani territory.

While there has been much talk of a pending Pakistani operation to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda in North Waziristan, an all out assault has yet to materialize. Pakistani military operations have been defensive in nature. The Taliban has repeatedly launched ambushes and mortar and rocket attacks against Pakistani troops that have deployed in the region, and Taliban casualties have occurred during counterattacks. Pakistan has lost 200 troops in the tribal areas since July 19. Today’s action highlights the hesitance of the Pakistani military to engage in ground combat in North Waziristan, as the military relied on helicopters and artillery to destroy the camp.

The strike on the Daygan camps are the latest in a series against al Qaeda and Taliban training facilities strung across the Northwest Frontier Province. Compounds in Damadola, Danda Saidgai, Chingai, Zamazola, and again in Danda Saidgai over the course of 2006 and 2007. Most recently, a camp in Mami Rogha in North Waziristan was struck in June 2007, killing upwards of 32 Taliban and al Qaeda operatives. These strikes have done little to disrupt the growth of al Qaeda and the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan.

The US is believed to have been behind the bulk of these strikes, with the Pakistani government providing cover for the operations. The Danda Saidgai attack, which was launched against Osama bin Laden’s elite Black Guard, was conducted by US Special Forces. Unmanned US Predator attack aircraft have been spotted in several attacks, and others occurred at night, which stretch the limits of the Pakistani military’s capabilities.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • David M says:

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 08/07/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  • William says:

    The telling thing here is that they didn’t use any foot infantry. Pakistani Army has had trouble in ground set-pieces against tribal elements in the past, so they didn’t risk an embarrassment here. They’re just blasting some camps with gunships and arty — not the most effective way of dealing with a difficult-to-track target. Looks like they’re going for the headline, rather than the result.

  • Solomon2 says:

    they didn’t use any foot infantry
    An infantry assault against Pushtun clan fortifications and weaponry? Wouldn’t that be foolhardy without softening the target first?

  • I believe that the attack was more politcally motivated than military. Pakistan is demonstrating that they are trying to do something without sustaining a lot of casualties.
    They probably learned this technique from the U.S. government.

  • templar knight says:

    Hmm…I wonder whether Musharraf might be floating a trial balloon here, just to see what the overall reaction in Pakistan would be to a more substantive use of arms against Taliban/AQ forces. Perhaps we will know in a few days if we see more pressure put on the Taliban by the Pakistani security forces.
    Or perhaps this was a reaction to recent remarks made by Obama in the US Presidential race. I don’t know for sure, but the tepid response so far to Taliban attacks has made me pessimistic about the government in Islamabad doing anything in the NWFP. We shall see.

  • templar knight says:

    Well, I admit to being a sophomore, but prattle…who knew? However, there is a learning curve to the indiosyncrises of the NWFP, along with the Taliban/AQ/Tribal alliances that exist there. Even our intelligence services get confused in this region.

  • Kidd says:

    I say its about time someone attack al qaede bases in pakistan,they use the country as a supply depote,refuiling station for troops depleted in numbers and weaopory.also it provides as a training ground for future insurgents.
    The only way to stop terror is to stop them from refuiling and having a heaven.Any country that stands by and lets al qaede use it as a jumping point and base is just as guilty of terriosm.

  • Thanos says:

    The Bajaur Jirga broke down yesterday, and both Waziristan’s are boycotting the Pak-Afghan Jirga, along with the MMA. In other words, Musharraf has done what he could to make peace, after the Pak Afghan jirga I suspect the Army goes fully weapons free in the Frontier. The Jirga needs to finish since there’s still some chance to gain some tribal allies from it, and if not allies then neutrality in some cases.
    Meanwhile, the political arm of the jihadi outfits tried to re-direct flames from the Red Mosque adherents in the National Assembly today by trying to say that the CIA had killed the Chinese Nationals. The MMA bench applauded, but everyone else was silent. Everyone knows that the Chinese were slain in sympathy and retribution for the Red Mosque.

  • RHYNO327 says:

    the US complains, and Mush. drops some bombs and the choppers fire some missles. this is just wat one poster said “politically motivated”. these areas cannot be taken back without major airstrikes, sustained over a period of weeks followed up by air-assaults and light infantry. this is a pro-t-ban, hostile population. so i would not care too much about collatteral damage. Pervez is looking into an abyss, its just a matter of time before they get to him. this is a disaster waiting to happen.

  • David M says:

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 08/08/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.


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