Missile strike in North Waziristan kills 12

Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; purple is defacto control; yellow is under threat

A suspected Taliban hideout in North Waziristan was hit with missiles as peace negotiations in North Waziristan are underway between the Taliban and the provincial government. Twelve have been reported killed in the strike, according to AFP.

The attack occurred in the town of Khushali Tari Khel near Mir Ali on the Pakistan-Afghan frontier. “The identities of the dead are not ascertained but we had reports that suspected them of being linked to the Taliban,” an intelligence official told AFP. Locals claimed “tribesmen” were visiting the home of a “local elder.”

The Pakistani military has not confirmed or denied the incident. In the past, Pakistani and US Special Operations Forces have conducted strikes inside the tribal areas in an attempt to eliminate high-value Taliban and al Qaeda targets.

The last major strike occurred in August 2007 when Pakistani forces hit two Taliban and al Qaeda bases in the village of Daygan, North Waziristan. Camps and bases in Damadola, Danda Saidgai, Chingai, Zamazola, again in Danda Saidgai, and Mami Rogha were hit over the course of 2006 and 2007. These strikes have done little to disrupt the growth of al Qaeda and the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan.

Today’s strike in Khushali Tari Khel mirrors the Chingai, Bajaur attack, which occurred at the end of August 2006. The government was negotiating with Faqir Mohammed and his local Taliban forces in Bajaur. The bombings, which leveled a Taliban training camp at the Chingai madrassa, killed more than 80 Taliban. The peace talks with the Taliban in Bajaur were sabotaged, but a deal was cut six months later in March 2007.

Bajaur serves as an al Qaeda command and control center for operations in northeastern Afghanistan. Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command, has been sighted in Bajaur, in Faqir’s company. The Chingai strike is believed to have been conducted by US Special Operations Forces to explicitly derail the Bajaur peace agreement.

Today’s attack in North Waziristan may also be designed to sink the talks with the Taliban. Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and allied terror groups operate at least 29 training camps in North and South Waziristan alone.

See The Fall of the Northwest Frontier Province for the full history of the rise of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal regions and beyond.

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

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13 Comments

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 01/29/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  • Neo says:

    Well, lets see  We have an offensive in one province, peace negotiations in another, numerous clashes, solders taken hostage, school children taken hostage, assailants given free passage, prisoners exchanged, assassinations taking out one side, rocket attacks against the other, some outposts recovered (maybe), others abandon. I can’t find a silver lining anywhere here, on the other hand it might not be quite as disastrous as the last round of peace accords.
    I think the old phase FUBAR or any of it’s modern equivalents would well describe the situation. I’ll refrain from using the appropriate modern equivalent.
    Oh  I almost forgot the part where local criminal elements (warrior’s for god) shoot captured solders and drag their headless bodies through the streets of the village market. Nice touch. Nothing beats a little local color 

  • Alex says:

    There was a story today that Stephen Harper is threatening to pull Canadian troops out of Afghanistan if NATO does not step up to their commitments. Honestly, I say good for him…not the actually pulling out part but putting pressure on NATO to do what they should have been doing all along

  • cjr says:

    Alex:
    The “threat” was originally stated in a Canadian report that was issued several weeks ago. It said specifically that NATO need to commit at least one battalion if Canada was to stay past Feb2009. Since then US has committed to sending a Marine Expeditionary Unit (3200 troops) by April2008 to address the issue. Problem solved. But for some reason, Mr. Harper doesnt seem to have heard about it.

  • Alex says:

    Yeah I did hear about the US Marine Expeditionary Unit to be deployed, but I still am rather upset at some NATO countries; it seems almost as if they are free-loading off of the US, UK and Canadian military. Why deploy troops and spend money when the North Americans and the British will?

  • Marlin says:

    The Pentagon is reinforcing the Canadians’ demand.

    The Pentagon said on Tuesday it will press NATO’s European members to send more troops to Afghanistan’s violent south in response to a call from Canada for reinforcements, but Washington will not boost its force there.
    “We’ve got a number of allies with us there, a number of allies providing forces. Hopefully they can see to it to dig deeper and find additional forces to help this effort,” said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

    Reuters: U.S. to press NATO for more troops for Afghanistan

  • Neo says:

    “Why deploy troops and spend money when the North Americans and the British will?”

  • In case you’ve forgotten some of the other fronts in the Global War on Terror … UPDATED

    Normally, I post on stories like this one.
    I am changing tack a bit. Here’s a pictorial fact sheet of the main bad guys in the Caucasus front. Just as “Greens” and Anarchists violently protesting in Berlin made legendary war correspo…

  • JusCruzn says:

    Just read a story about Ayman Al Zawahiri being spotted in Bajaur. Guess we attacked with predators but missed him. Sounds like we need to put boots on the ground and go get him. So much for Bin Laden and associates not being in Pakistan!

  • ds says:

    Any chance we actually got Al Zawahiri? I keep reading that Pakistani officials believe we may have hit a big fish, but they’re waiting to verify identity.
    Just hoping…

  • Marlin says:

    ABC News has a report out that Pakistani intelligence sources believe a high-value al-Qaeda target was killed in this missile strike.

    U.S. officials said there was no indication that the target was Osama bin Laden or his deputy Ayman al Zawahri, but one senior official told ABCNews.com the strike was aimed at one particular figure.
    “We don’t know whether we got him yet, we are sorting through it,” the official said, indicating the intended target was a top leader of the terror group.

    ABC News: Terror Leader Killed in Missile Strike?

  • Tommy says:

    Very cool! I hope we get more info by the end of the day.
    My guess is it’s probably Al-Libi. I’m REALLY hoping its Ayman Al-Zawahiri though.

  • Thanos says:

    This is all getting very confusing the past few days, now we have South Waziristan negotiating with the Uzbeks, and the “Islamic Emirate” again, while a tribal lashkar is being raised elsewhere, I get the feeling the bubble’s been pushed and some folks have had to flee.
    Ths school event led to this all, I am wondering if that was TNSM, we know the HuJI/JeM/LeT nexus of groups was at Dara Adam Khel, TNSM is north and west of Bahrain, and some have probably filtered back South.

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