Map of the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. The government signed peace agreements in the red agencies/ districts (the military said Shangla was under Taliban control in October); purple districts are under de facto Taliban control; yellow regions are under Taliban influence.
The US has struck in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal areas for the first time in a week, according to reports from the region.
The Predator fired two Hellfire missiles at a Taliban safe house in North Waziristan. The strike took place in a town outside of Mir Ali, Reuters reported.
At least four people have been reported killed, and “many” more were wounded, Geo News reported. “Taliban militants immediately surrounded the house and did not allow locals to come near the site,” witnesses said. No senior Taliban or al Qaeda leaders have been reported killed in the attack at this time.
Mir Ali is a known stronghold of al Qaeda leader Abu Kasha al Iraq. He has close links to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in January 2007. Kasha was the target of a US strike in Mir Ali on Oct. 31. He survived the attack, according to Taliban fighters in the region, who said he “is healthy and very much in his routine.”
The majority of US strikes inside of Pakistan’s northwest have taken place inside North Waziristan. The powerful, al Qaeda-linked Haqqani family and Taliban warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadar operate in North Waziristan.
Background on the recent strikes inside Pakistan
The US attacks inside Pakistan have tapered off the past five weeks after a high operational tempo in September and October, when strikes into Pakistan averaged between two to three a week. Only six attacks have been recorded in November and the first week of December. The majority of these attacks have been inside North and South Waziristan.
There have been 33 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan this year, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-six of these attacks took place 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.
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.
The US strikes inside Pakistan’s tribal areas have killed five senior al Qaeda leaders this year. All of the leaders were involved in supporting al Qaeda’s external operations directed at the West.
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 weapons of mass destruction 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.
Two other senior al Qaeda leaders are rumored to have been killed, but their deaths have not been confirmed.
Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, was targeted in a Nov. 7 strike in South Waziristan that wounded Taliban leader Mullah Nazir. Abdullah Azzam al Saudi, an al Qaeda leader involved with external strikes and the recruitment and training of operatives, is thought to have been killed in the Nov. 19 strike in Bannu, the first recorded US attack outside of Pakistan’s tribal areas.
US attacks inside Pakistan and incidents along the border in 2008:
Dec. 5, 2008
Nov. 29, 2008
Nov. 21, 2008
Nov. 19, 2008
Nov. 14, 2008
Nov. 7, 2008
Oct. 31, 2008
Oct. 31, 2008
Oct. 26, 2008
Oct. 22, 2008
Oct. 16, 2008
Oct. 11, 2008
Oct. 9, 2008
Oct. 3, 2008
Oct. 1, 2008
Sept. 25, 2008
Sept. 22, 2008
Sept. 17, 2008
Sept. 15, 2008
Sept. 12, 2008
Sept. 8, 2008
Sept. 5, 2008
Sept. 4, 2008
Sept. 3, 2008
Aug. 31, 2008
Aug. 31, 2008
Aug. 20, 2008
Aug. 13, 2008
July 28, 2008
June 14, 2008
May 24, 2008
March 16, 2008
March 13, 2008
Feb. 28, 2008
Jan. 31, 2008
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