US conducts 2 strikes in North Waziristan

Map of the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. The government signed peace agreements in the red agencies/ districts; purple districts are under de facto Taliban control; yellow regions are under Taliban influence.

The US launched three airstrikes directed at the Haqqani network and al Qaeda operating in eastern Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas. At least three separate attacks by US aircraft were reported in Khost province in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency of North Waziristan. The attacks occurred in regions known to be controlled by the powerful, al Qaeda friendly Haqqani family.

“There were two separate attacks in Pakistan,” a senior US military intelligence told The Long War Journal.

The first strike occurred in the village of Mohammad Khel in North Waziristan. Pakistani intelligence sources told news outlets that 21 “suspected militants” were killed in a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle attack, and “most were foreigners.” Sixteen foreign al Qaeda fighters were later reported killed, although none were identified.

The second strike occurred in Datta Khel, also in North Waziristan. A Predator strike hit two homes in the village. Two women and a child were reported killed, and five men were reported wounded.

The Pakistani military denied any violation of its territory. “There was no violation, no incursion or intrusion on our side,” Major General Athar Abbas, Pakistan’s chief military spokesman said.

The US did conduct a strike in a region in Khost province and warned the Pakistani military of the operation, Abbas told Reuters. “ISAF informed us at around 4:00 p.m. (6:00 a.m. EDT) that they were conducting an operation in Afghanistan, across from North Waziristan,” Abbas said.

North Waziristan and Khost province are strongholds of the Haqqani family. The Haqqanis are closely allied with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and have close links with the Inter-Services Intelligence.

The Haqqanis run a parallel government in North Waziristan and conduct military and suicide operations in eastern Afghanistan. Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani have close ties to Osama bin Laden. Siraj is one of the most wanted terrorist commanders in Afghanistan for his involvement in a string of deadly attacks and for recruiting and training foreign terrorists for suicide attacks.

Latest US strike in North Waziristan

Today’s twin strikes in Pakistan make for three attacks over the past three days. The US hit an al Qaeda safe house in Mirali in North Waziristan after a week-long lull in cross-border raids. Mirali is a known stronghold of al Qaeda leader Abu Kasha. He has close links to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in January 2007.

The US has stepped up attacks 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 12 recorded cross-border strikes since Aug. 31. There have been 22 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan in 2008, compared to 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.

These attacks are designed to interdict al Qaeda’s ability to conduct attacks against the West as well as degrade the Taliban’s support network being used against NATO forces in Afghanistan. Three senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed in the attacks.

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 Pakistani military said it had direct orders to “open fire” on any US forces attempting to violate Pakistan’s borders. The military has fired on US helicopters along the border at least three times in September.

US attacks inside Pakistan and incidents along the border in 2008:

US conducts two strikes in North Waziristan

Oct. 3, 2008

Taliban: Baitullah Mehsud alive; US strike in North Waziristan

Oct. 1, 2008

Pakistan military fires on ISAF forces

Sept. 25, 2008

Pakistani military fires on US helicopters at border

Sept. 22, 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 is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Private Finch says:

    This might be an obvious question, but why don’t they make a list of the 10 most troublesome people in N. Waziristan and take them out one by one. Some of the surviving clan members will begin to understand they will be next in line to get the ‘chop’. Start with the head of the Haggams clan. Use the Preditors and make them know their days are numbered.

  • Neo says:

    “This might be an obvious question, but why don’t they make a list of the 10 most troublesome people in N. Waziristan and take them out one by one.”

  • Marlin says:

    I’m always skeptical of how committed Pakistan is to fighting terrorism, but it is nice to see some action even if only temporary.

    Bajaur Agency’s Mamoond tribe formed a tribal lashker on Friday to support security forces against the Taliban.
    Hundreds of tribesmen attended a jirga in the Khar Civil Colony, organised by tribal elders and announced their support of the security forces in their bid to expel the Taliban from the area.

    Daily Times: 70,000 Afghan refugees asked to leave Bajaur in three days

    A Tribal lashkar of Peroz Khel tribe arrested at least 18 pro-Taliban militants including four suicide attackers and seized two explosive-laden vehicles at Goin area in Orakzai Agency on Thursday.

    Associated Press of Pakistan: Lashkar arrests 18 militants in Orakzai Agency

  • Marlin says:

    Hmmm, seems like I’m not the only one noticing the hopeful signs in the Pakistani tribal areas.

    “We have seen some reports of local tribal leaders and tribes acting against some of the militant sanctuaries in the tribal areas in Pakistan, and we think that’s an encouraging development,”

  • Kidarthbai says:

    Why is the Kunar front silent or are we just not hearing anything about it? That and Mohmand is the current staging ground for a lot of the Taliban defence in Bajaur.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    How come we never read “Pak A.F. bombs T-ban/AQ camps?” They have an air force, why hasn’t it been used? Those camps went from around 50 in May, to over 160 now. This all happened with the knowledge of Musharaff’s gov. He did NOTHING. I bet if the US used airpower for a week or 2, bombing those camps, violence in A-stan would drop. This is where the problem is. Why do the P-stani’s want Block-50 F-16’s when they have not used thier airforce to dismantle the camps? Sooner or later it will come down to the US making a decision to use our own warplanes to bomb the camps. The P-stanis whine and moan, and do NOTHING. Thier actions in Bajaur are encouraging, but the problem goes much deeper than that. The militants cannot conduct ops in A-stan if they are defending thier camps in P-stan. Hitting them where THEY live will bring some security to A-stan. When will this happen?

  • C. Jordan says:

    He’s Back!
    There is a report that Adam Ghadan has put out a
    fresh tape. Can this be confirmed?

  • Kidarthbai says:

    Rhyno327, PAF F-16s and Mirages have been used extensively in Bajaur. Why doesn’t the US do anything of the Taliban compounds and poppy fields in Kunar and rest of Afghanistan supplying fighters and financing to the terrorists? If air power alone could finish the insurgency in a few days why has it taken so long to control the violence in Iraq or even parts of Afghanistan not near the Pakistani border?


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