US strikes Taliban camp in South Waziristan

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the tribal areas. Map from PBS’ Frontline. Click to view.

The US has conducted another cross-border airstrike inside Pakistan’s tribal areas. The attack occurred in South Waziristan just as a senior US military commander completed a visit to Pakistan and urged the government to reform Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

The attack occurred in the Baghar Cheena region of the South Waziristan tribal agency, anonymous Pakistani intelligence sources told Geo TV. This is the same area where the US has conducted several strikes during this past week. At least four missiles were fired from unmanned Predator aircraft. The US military has not commented on the latest strike, but rarely admits to conducting cross-border attacks.

The target of the strike was a Taliban camp, according to reports. “There are a few militant training camps in the area and no civilian population around the site of strikes,” an official told Geo TV. Five Taliban fighters were killed and a weapons storage site was destroyed in the attack, Reuters reported.

The strike was the “result of US and Pakistani intelligence sharing,” a senior Pakistani official told Reuters. “It shows improving intelligence coordination on the ground.”

The report of coordinated action occurs as Pakistan’s president, prime minister, and other senior politicians and senior military leaders said Pakistan would not tolerate violations of Pakistan’s borders. Yesterday, the chief spokesman for the military said the military had orders to “open fire” on US forces attempting to cross the border.

Today’s strike follows an unannounced visit to Pakistan by Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen met with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, Pakistan’s Army Chief of Staff to discuss the situation in Pakistan’s tribal areas and assured them the US respects Pakistan’s sovereignty.

The US has also ratcheted up pressure on the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, Pakistan’s primary military intelligence agency. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher upbraided the ISI for having direct links to and aiding the Taliban and al Qaeda. Mullen urged the government to reform the ISI and purge the agency of extremist supporters.

The US has stepped up attack in Pakistan’s tribal areas this year after the Taliban and al Qaeda consolidated control in the tribal regions and settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. There have been nine recorded cross-border strikes since Aug. 31. There have been 18 recorded cross-border attacks in Pakistan in 2008, compared to 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.

Three senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed in the attacks. The Haqqani Network, the powerful al Qaeda and Taliban-linked group run by Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani has been heavily targeted as well.

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.

US attacks inside Pakistan in 2008:

US strikes Taliban camp in South Waziristan

Sept. 17, 2008

Report: US helicopters fired on while crossing Pakistani border

Sept. 15, 2008

US hits compound in North Waziristan,

Sept. 12, 2008

US targets Haqqani Network in North Waziristan,

Sept. 8, 2008

US airstrike killed five al Qaeda operatives in North Waziristan,

Sept. 5, 2008

Report: US airstrike kills four in North Waziristan,

Sept. 4, 2008

Pakistanis claim US helicopter-borne forces assaulted village in South Waziristan,

Sept. 3, 2008

US hits al Qaeda safe house in North Waziristan,

Aug. 31, 2008

Five killed in al Qaeda safe house strike in South Waziristan,

Aug. 31, 2008

Al Qaeda safe house targeted in South Waziristan strike,

Aug. 20, 2008

Cross-border strike targets one of the Taliban’s 157 training camps in Pakistan’s northwest,

Aug. 13, 2008

Six killed in strike in South Waziristan,

July 28, 2008

Report: Strike targets Baitullah Mehsud’s hideout in Pakistan,

June 14, 2008

Senior Algerian al Qaeda operative killed in May 14 strike inside Pakistan,

May 24, 2008

Missile strike kills 20 in South Waziristan,

March 16, 2008

Unprecedented Coalition strike nails the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan,

March 13, 2008

Missile strike on al Qaeda meeting in South Waziristan kills 13,

Feb. 28, 2008

Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al Libi killed in North Waziristan,

Jan. 31, 2008

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

View Comments (23)

  • Perhaps Admiral Mullen was laying out our cards on the table. Pakistan needs to fix the ISI or we bomb the terrorist training camps ourselves...
    Pakistani politicians are afraid of their own intelligence agency because they spent years sending them to Kashmir to ferment terrorist violence.
    Yet at least some of the recent attacks against Bhutto and Musharraf have been followed by accusations of cooperation between Pakistani intelligence and terrorists. The Pakistani government cannot delay the inevitable. They must act to defend themselves.

  • Good news from Dir. Coupled with the Salarzai and Buner lashkars against Taliban, these are all good trends. I hope they are not ruined with the latest (and dare I say short sighted) US incursions.
    Dir villagers kill two suspected 'bombers'
    * Foil attempt to take 300 schoolchildren hostage
    * Taliban capture police weapons
    PESHAWAR: Two suspected suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Upper Dir town on Thursday after residents foiled their attempt to take 300 schoolchildren hostage, police said.
    The men entered into the town from Swat valley but people from the area chased them away, local police officer Johar Ali told AFP. They took refuge in a school building then and tried to take students hostage, local news agencies said, but police and villagers forced them to flee from there as well.
    Two of them then tried to take refuge in a forest where an exchange of gunfire took place, and later detonated the explosives strapped to their bodies, Johar Ali said. The state-run APP news agency said a third man fled, but Online said he was arrested.
    "Showing extreme courage and boldness"

  • The Killed were Jibran and Sabri, arabs who were with a Punjabi ISI operative. Jibran is the alqueda commander who replaced the commander killed near bagram about 3 months back.
    How is it Arabs and chechens and turks are continue to stay in these areas in clear violation of undertaking given by Musharaff to USA.They are there and continue to operate with coonniavance of Saudi Arabia.The Saudi funded charity organisations are already helping the families of those alqueda and taliban operatives killed by Predators. They are doing it openly in every mosque in Pakistan.

  • With India in the south complaining about ISI links to terrorism and Afghanistan's complaints in the north... its a joke to blame US incursions for ruining good trends.
    These incursions are a result of deteriorating trends in Pakistan that have repercussions in Afghanistan.
    As the LWJ mentioned a couple of weeks ago:
    "Over the last six months, three out of the four most spectacular terrorist attacks occurring in Afghanistan have been carried out by the Haqqani Network."
    The NY Times has reported that Haqqani has ties to the ISI.
    How quaint...

  • Freedom Now, don't think the terrorists are being supplied just from the Pakistan side, they also have safe havens, camps and supply lines on the Afghan side of the border. Recent Bajaur operations have made this very clear to the ground commanders.
    Baitullah Mehsud is the favoured asset of some people west of the Durand line. Obviously you can't except NYTimes to be reporting on this.

  • Kidartbai
    Perhaps you need to read up on Faqir Mohammed, the leader of the TNSM in Bajaur and Baitullah's deputy in the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. I think you'd be hard pressed to say Faqir and the TNSM are Afghan creations.
    This is the same group that, led by Sufi Mohammed, sent more than 10,000 fighters into Afghanistan to fight US forces at the onset of Operation Enduring Freedom.
    And please stop insinuating that Baitullah is a Afghan/US creation. The US has targeted him in the past and regularly kill his fighters in Afghanistan.
    We'll see what happens the the tribesmen in Dir and Swat when the Taliban focus their ire on them. If the Pakistani military doesn't press operations throughout the NWFP/FATA, they will suffer the fate of other tribesmen in the region who stood up to the Taliban. This si why the so-called "peace agreements" the military and government are so fond of are extremely dangerous.

  • I haven't said anyone is an Afghan, American, Indian or Pakistani creation. Terrorists are a creation of radical ideology imported from Arab lands. That doesn't mean there aren't people on either side of the border who are helping instigate this conflict further. It's not so hard to imagine that parts of Afghanistan are also safe havens for terrorists, just like they are for the poppy fields that funds the Taliban to some degree.
    Yes, peace agreements have been detrimental to ending the conflict but in some ways necessary due to the stalled operations in SWA/NWA.

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