The US has conducted another airstrike inside Pakistani territory, according to reports from Pakistan. This is the fourth US cross-strike inside Pakistan in five days.
Four people were reported killed in an attack on a home in village of Char Khel in North Waziristan, anonymous intelligence officials told AFP. The owner of home is known to “host foreigners,” a local told the news agency.
It is unclear if any senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders were killed in the attack.
The village of Char Khel lies about four miles from the Afghan border. The village is in territory run by the powerful Haqqani family.
The Haqqani family is closely allied with the Taliban and al Qaeda. The Haqqanis run a parallel government in North Waziristan and conduct military and suicide operations in eastern Afghanistan. Siraj Haqqani, the son of Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, has close ties to Osama bin Laden and is one of the most wanted terrorists in Afghanistan.
The US military targeted the Haqqani network several times this year. On March 12, the US military fired guided missiles from Afghanistan into a compound run by Siraj Haqqani, the wanted Taliban leader behind numerous attacks in Afghanistan. The attack is believed to have killed three senior Haqqani network commanders and “many” Chechen fighters.
Cross-border strikes increase during 2008
There have been 11 confirmed cross-border attacks by the US in Pakistan this year. Five safe houses have been hit in North Waziristan, four have been hit in South Waziristan, and two have been targeted in Bajaur this year. Only 10 such cross-border strikes were recorded in 2006 and 2007 combined.
Today’s attack is the fifth cross-border strike since Aug. 20 and the fourth since Aug. 31. Two Canadians of Arab origin were killed in a strike in strike in South Waziristan last weekend.
US forces launched a controversial helicopter strike in South Waziristan in a village just one mile from the Afghan border just two days ago. A senior US military intelligence official and a US military officer, both who wished to remain anonymous, told The Long War Journal the strike involved a “handful” of US helicopters and special operations teams. The official and officer would not comment on the target of the raid.
The Pakistani government has condemned the attack as a violation of “territorial integrity.” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi described the attack as an “unforgivable incident,” claiming only women and children were killed in the assault.
The US government and military have not commented on the attack.
Background on this year’s attacks
Three senior al Qaeda operatives have been confirmed killed during this year’s cross-border strikes in Pakistan.
Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda’s bomb expert and weapons of mass destruction chief, was killed South Waziristan on July 28. Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda’s external operations chief, was killed in Bajaur on May 14. Abu Laith al Libi, a senior commander in Afghanistan and the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, was killed in North Waziristan on Jan. 28.
While the strikes have disrupted al Qaeda’s senior leadership, they have done little to disrupt the growth of al Qaeda and the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan.
The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups have established 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.
The Taliban has organized some of its fighters into military formations. Al Qaeda has reformed the notorious 055 Brigade, the Arab legion of al Qaeda fighters that was destroyed during the initial US assault in Afghanistan in late 2001. Additional al Qaeda brigades have been formed, intelligence officials informed The Long War Journal.
Foreign al Qaeda fighters have flocked to the Pakistani border regions. On July 23, Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani and his cabinet were told that more than 8,000 foreign fighters were operating in the tribal areas.
For more information on the Haqqani family, see:
• The Haqqani Network: Reign of terror, Aug. 2, 2008
• Targeting Taliban commander Siraj Haqqani, Oct. 20, 2007
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Wow… and it’s not like we’re just chipping away at the Taliban’s ranks by
launching an airstrike every day or two. We’ve gotta be hot on someone’s tail right now.
I am a little sorry about the distance from the border relating to the raid yesterday. Would a super high value target be that close to afganistan? I would think OBL and his senior officers will be 40 – 50 miles deep into the mountains and not sitting that close. But all this attention must be worth hitting so hard.
Keep shooting guys – clean them out!
I remember reading awhile ago that Bin Laden feels more comfortable in Afghanistan than he does Pakistan and that he prefers to stay there more. Unlike Zawahiri, who hides and travels more in Pakistan.
The gloves are definitely off!
Are we really getting anywhere though in Afghanistan. I think that the Tilaban will out last us all unfortunatley.
Another strike today?
When you keep the pressure up your opponent is bound to make mistakes. Keep hitting them and hit them hard. Sounds like our boots on the ground may have ruffled some feathers in the Pak military. If they did the job we would not have to. Again the President said it right after 9/11 “If you give safe harbor to terrorists then you are as guilty as they are. We will hunt them down and smoke them out”. Looks to me like the hunt is going to continue. Good hunting troops, and as always GOOD WORK TROOPS KEEP KILLING HIRABI’S!!!
milo writes: “Are we really getting anywhere though in Afghanistan. I think that the Tilaban will out last us all unfortunatley”
It’s OK for you to be pessimistic or to give up milo. It’s not like you are involved anyway, right? I think the Taliban will be defeated to the point that Afghanistan will survive as a nation that is not a state sponsor of attacks on western interests. That’s enough for an initial goal.
looks like the airstrikes are getting serious!
The target may be Haqqani and his family. They are being stalked perhaps? Good, actionable intel will nail this guy. He had Bhutto killed, and she was hope for this corrupt, insane country of religious extremism. Eliminating Haqqani should be a priority.