US Predators strike again in Waziristan

South Waziristan Taliban leader Mullah Nazir. Click to view.

US unmanned Predator aircraft struck inside Pakistan’s tribal areas for the second time today. After targeting a mid-level al Qaeda operative in North Waziristan, US Predators attacked a compound in Wana, South Waziristan.

Six “foreigners” — a term used to describe Arabs or other non-Pakistani al Qaeda members — and a “tribesman” are reported to have been killed in the strike. The compound is said to be owned by Faz-e-Haq.

Tahir Yuldalshev, the commander of a Uzbek terror group, and Mullah Nazir were the target of the attack. A US intelligence source said that Nazir was wounded in the strike, “possibly seriously.”

Nazir is a rival to Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. He ejected Uzbeks from the al Qaeda-allied Islamic Jihad Union from the Wana region in 2007. This action caused the media to describe Nazir as “pro-government Taliban.” But Nazir is allied with the Uzbeks of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

But Nazir openly supports al Qaeda and its leadership. He admitted he would provide shelter to senior al Qaeda leaders. “How can I say no to any request from Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar under tribal traditions, if they approach me to get shelter?” Nazir asked the Pakistani press in the spring of 2007.

Al Qaeda runs terror camps inside Nazir’s tribal areas and helps to finance his operations. Nazir’s forces fight against Afghan and Coalition forces inside Afghanistan.

Tahir Yuldashev in 2006, with al Qaeda’s al rayah, or black banner, in the background.

Yuldashev is the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an al Qaeda-linked group that operates out of Pakistan’s tribal areas. Yuldashev enjoys a close relationship with Osama bin Laden. He is a member of al Qaeda’s global shura council. Some of Yuldashev’s fighters are believed to serve in the Black Guard, Osama bin Laden’s personal corps of bodyguards.

Yuldashev maintains tactical control of about 1,000 to 2,000 fighters inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal in the past. His fighters are active in eastern Afghanistan, where they attack Coalition and Afghan forces.

Today’s first attack

Earlier today US Predators hit a Taliban safe house in Mir Ali, North Waziristan. Twenty-one people, including a mid-level al Qaeda commander, are said to have been killed in the attack.

The target of the Mir Ali strike is said to have been Abu Kasha, an al Qaeda operative who facilitates the group’s external operations against the West. Kasha is an Iraqi national and has long been established in Mir Ali.

The US campaign in Pakistan is aimed at disrupting al Qaeda’s ability to attack the West, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal on Sept. 19. US intelligence believes the next attack launched against the West will originate from Pakistan’s tribal areas, where al Qaeda operates 157 known training camps.

There have been 27 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan in 2008, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty of these attacks have occurred since Aug. 31. There were only 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.

Four senior al Qaeda leaders — Abu Laith al Libi, Abu Sulayman Jazairi, Abu Khabab al Masri, and Khalid Habib — have been killed during the strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas in 2008.

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

US Predators strike again in Waziristan,

Oct. 31, 2008

US strikes kill al Qaeda operatives in North & South Waziristan,

Oct. 31, 2008

US targets Taliban “facility” in South Waziristan,

Oct. 26, 2008

US hits Haqqani Network in North Waziristan,

Oct. 22, 2008

US strike in Baitullah Mehsud’s territory kills 6,

Oct. 16, 2008

US targets safe house in North Waziristan,

Oct. 11, 2008

US strike kills 9 al Qaeda and Taliban in North Waziristan,

Oct. 9, 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.



  • Tommy says:

    3 major terrorist leaders targeted in 1 day!
    Our intel must be amazing!!

  • RW says:

    The news here gets better and better. Let the Predators reign right to the end of January.
    We’ll need some luck after that. Let’s hope we don’t.

  • cjr says:

    Interesting how much Pakistan government has toned down its protest over cross-border strikes.

  • AAndrew says:

    Paul and RW, I couldn’t agree more – we better put a Hellfire right between the eyes of every single terrorist we can find in Pak by the end of Jan, because this proactive perspective may not last beyond that point (despite the rhetoric).
    Think these AQ guys are sleeping just a little lighter these nights in Pak?

  • don juice says:

    these are exciting times for the C.I.A. i can tell u that right now from the intel they are getting along with the strikes

  • rational enquirer says:

    Paul, I so agree with you. It’s definitely time to take the gloves off, if it ever was. In a “nuanced” way, of course….

  • juscruzn says:

    I just love those predators. Nothing like killing hirabi’s by remote control. GOOD WORK TROOPS KEEP KILLING HIRABI’S!!!

  • Brian says:

    Congratulations Bill. I just saw you referenced on the crawl on Foxnews during O’Reilly.
    It was strange because I was reading it and thinking “wow that sounds like what I read a long war journal”, and then, they attributed it to your site.

  • Gunner says:

    O’rielly on Fox news is what clued me in to visit and bookmark this site…

  • flyonthewall says:

    So, is LWJ “crossing the aisle” to MSM, or is MSM reaching across the aisle to legitimize journalism via LWJ et al??? Such a hopeful development for fact-hungry consumers. Congrats, Bills O an R.

  • don juice says:

    breaking news! i think we hit Abu Jihad al-Masri and abu kasha escaped heres the link…

  • SAS fan says:

    Have all the recent strikes been credited to Predator?
    Is the use of Reaper ever mentioned or is it being deliberately underplayed and just folded into the attacks credited to Predator?


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