US targets compound in North Waziristan

The US has struck again in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agencies. Three unmanned Predator aircraft are reported to have fired three missiles at a compound in Garyom in North Waziristan. The home was owned by a “tribal man” named Mir Gul, according to Geo TV.

Twelve people, including five “foreigners” – a term often used to describe al Qaeda members – were killed in the attack, Reuters reported. No senior al Qaeda or Taliban operatives have been reported killed.

Today’s attack is only the second since General David Petraeus took command of US Central Command and the second in November. The attacks are tapering off after a high operational tempo in September and October, when strikes into Pakistan averaged between two to three a week.

There have been 29 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan this year, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-two of these attacks have occurred since Aug. 31. There were only 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.

The strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas have disrupted al Qaeda and the Taliban’s operations, but will not dislodge the groups from power in the region, a senior intelligence official told The Long War Journal last week.

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, intelligence officials told The Long War Journal in August.

Pakistan has been identified as one of several areas where al Qaeda has regrouped, CIA Director General Michael Hayden during a briefing to the Atlantic Council yesterday.

High value targets

The US strikes inside Pakistan’s tribal areas have killed five senior al Qaeda leaders this year.

Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander in Afghanistan, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan in January. Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda’s external operations chief, was killed in a strike in Bajaur in March. Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda’s WMD chief, and several senior members of his staff were killed in a strike in South Waziristan in July. Khalid Habib, the leader of al Qaeda’s paramilitary forces in the tribal areas, was killed in North Waziristan in October. Abu Jihad al Masri, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and member of al Qaeda’s top council, was also killed in North Waziristan this October.

Other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are rumored to have been killed or wounded in recent strikes. Taliban leader Mullah Nazir was wounded in last week’s strike in South Waziristan. Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, was also targeted in the strike that wounded Nazir. It is not known if Yuldashev was among those killed.

Abu Kasha al Iraqi, an al Qaeda facilitator and financier in North Waziristan, was reported killed in an attack in North Waziristan in October, but Taliban fighters said he survived the strike and “is healthy and very much in his routine.”

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

US targets compound in North Waziristan,

Nov. 14, 2008

US Predators strike al Qaeda camp in North Waziristan,

Nov. 7, 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.



  • Rhyno327/lrs says:

    How can 157+ camps operate in P-stan without thier knowledge? Why haven’t the P-stani’s used thier OWN airforce to bomb these camps? Coz they are playing both sides, trying to get every dollar they can out of the US. No way should there be any let up of airstrikes, and we should snatch/kill those who pose a danger or have done us wrong already. Pak. whines and moans but does next to nothing about it. Thier recent “campaign” has not dislodged AQ/T-ban. It was a “show” put on for the US. If we did not need to dock supply ships in Karachi, the problem would be addressed. The tree is rooted in P-stan. You rip out the roots, you kill the tree.

  • JusCruzn says:

    Obviously someone had to count them to know there are 157, so they must also know where they are located. Since the Pak’s are doing as much as they can, they must need some help eliminating these 157. Time to put those coordinates into 157 JDAM’s and eliminate them. GOOD WORK TROOPS KEEP KILLING HIRABI’S!!!

  • Neo says:

    I wonder if the average reader is getting an accurate impression with respect to the estimated 157 encampments used by the Taliban. These are not the sort of formal military encampments western soldiers would use. These are, for the most part, inhabited village areas with the fighters in villages amongst related civilians. The most formal of these camps center around madrasas and estates associated with prominent tribal families. If you take a look at many of the villages in the area, the tribal members already live in semi-fortified clusters of buildings. The clusters of buildings reflect long term clan kinship within the respective community. The buildings themselves have enclosed living and working areas within which the women-folk can work shielded from people outside the clan. Infrastructure is pretty basic but these villages along the boarder have been supporting fighters and insurgents into Afghanistan for the better part of 30 years.
    Any plan to take them out in one massive sweep is problematic, given that these are not formal military encampments. Any massive air strike would basically be taking out parts of 150 villages. These encampments are not permanent bases, but more along the lines of frequented gathering locations with weapons and supplies somewhere in the area. Chances are a massive strike would hit only a limited number of militants and kill an unacceptable number of civilians. Now, I realize that the civilians in these locations are associated with and support the militants. I may have limited sympathy for them, but I’m sure that is not how the sympathies of the locals will go. I don’t think I need to explain how any such massive attack would play out in the world press.
    I don’t believe there are any ballgame winning home runs to be hit. There aren’t any truly decisive strategies that will suddenly point to an end game. Pulling out isn’t a decisive option either, since it would just be the start of another massive war. (most probably involving the United States at some level) The war in Afghanistan is many senses a classic war of attrition, it promises to go long after everyone is sick and tired of it, on both sides. If the locals truly don’t want us there, they shouldn’t harbor terrorist training camps which strike out at the world. Until that is understood, we need to keep grinding away at them. Pressure and time will do wonders as long as your side has the capacity and political will to outlast the other side.

  • pgh says:

    Is this increase a result of better info, or are there other factors?

  • Neo says:

    “Is this increase a result of better info, or are there other factors?”

  • Rhyno327/lrs says:

    Neo, ur spot on about the differences in Western military bases and those that serve our enemies in P-stan. Civilian casualties are not in our interests. But, there are places, like madrossa’s that are training and indoctrinating jihadi’s. These places have been targeted, as we have read here. It was Haqqani’s “place”…These compounds that harbor thier leaders, and fighters-and women and kids, wat do we do? Maybe the use of UAV’s, or teams on the ground can target these people when they leave. Collateral damage is gonna happen. They “hug” civilians, knowing we won’t strike. You have to weigh the value of the strike vs. the consequences of collateral damage. If Haqqani was known to be in a specific location, and his wives and children were present, would you strike? Knowing I may not get this chance again, I would. They hate us no matter wat the circumstances, thier minds cannot be changed. You really point out the moral dillemma. Women, KIDS? oh, man…but it seems they have no regard for someone elses children. It is a good point you have made.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Neo, Rhyno,
    If you go back and re-read my report on the number of camps,there are indeed some fixed locations. Such as the Haqqani madrassa. My source wouldn’t go into detail on the exact numbers, he gave an estimate of 25-50. The problem is hitting these locations when they are occupied.

  • Rhyno327/lrs says:

    Thank you Bill for taking the time to respond. I do recall the Haqqani madrossa, and yes, there are a good amount of fixed targets. Hitting them when they are there is the problem. Thanx again.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram