Death toll rises in attack on Shadow Army training center in Kurram

Yesterday’s missile strike in Pakistan’s Kurram tribal agency targeted a training facility and logistical hub for the Shadow Army, the joint al Qaeda and Taliban paramilitary force operating on the lawless Afghan-Pakistan boarder.

“The Kurram compound served as a training camp and logistical facility for al Qaeda and Taliban fighters assigned to fight in Afghanistan,” a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject. “The camp was a big, well guarded facility, one that needed taken out.”

The camp was run by a local Taliban commander known as Fazal Saeed, who is thought to have been at the compound during the strike. It is not known if he was killed in the strike.

More than 24 Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters and Arab al Qaeda fighters were killed in the strike, a Pakistani official told Geo News. A Taliban spokesman also said 24 fighters were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

There are several large joint Taliban and al Qaeda camps in the Kurram tribal agency, the intelligence official said. The Feb. 16 strike on a Taliban training camp in Kurram killed more than 30 al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The camp was run by Bahram Khan Kochi, an Afghan Taliban commander.

The Taliban and al Qaeda last year was running 157 known training camps throughout Pakistani’s tribal agencies and the greater Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal in the summer of 2008. Officials have not disclosed the number of camps currently thought to be in operation.

The US has struck inside Pakistan six times this year. There were 36 recorded cross-border US attacks and attempts in Pakistan during 2008, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-nine of these 2008 attacks took place after Aug. 31. There were only 10 recorded strikes in 2006 and 2007 combined.

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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  • Marlin says:

    Speaking of the lawless Afghan-Pakistan border, I was surprised to read this bit today. I think it’s the first time I’ve actually read about something like this in a Pakistani newspaper. I wonder if it happens often?

    Security force apprehended nine foreigners trying to enter Afghanistan early from two checkpost Thursday morning.
    Security official confirmed the arrests of three foreign nationals from Manzai Checkpost on Wana-Tank Road on the night between Wednesday and six from Korre Checkpost from a van during routine checking.
    The authorities also seized foreign currency and religious literature from the possession of the accused. The accused in their preliminary interrogation confessed that they entered Pakistan through the Wahgah border and were proceeding to Afghanistan through the Wana headquarters of South Waziristan Agency.

    The Post: 18 militants killed in Mohmand

  • ST333 says:

    Good hit

  • Ayamo says:

    Just a small on a very hot rock, but nevertheless …

  • natej740 says:

    Do you know if the US is using Reapers sometimes instead of Predators. One report said they did all this damage with 2 missiles the Reaper can carry JDAM’S instead of the hellfires……..And if they are not then why don’t they??

  • Render says:

    Nate: It’s my understanding that most of the actual Predator fired strikes use more then one UAV. It is possible that something larger then the usual Hellfire was used. It is possible that some strikes may be launched from manned aircraft inside Afghan airspace, depending on the range from the border to the target. It is also possible, and fairly likely in this case, that there were secondary explosions considerably more powerful then the usual Hellfire warhead.
    Or all of the above.

  • Neo says:

    There are far fewer Reapers than Predators. With that in mind, I doubt they will divulge much information on when they are utilized and where they are deployed. At this point they could probably mix in an occasional F-117 strike and no one would say any different.

  • natej740 says:

    True…..Im just saying…If your gonna do it might as well do it right…..The Reaper can fly longer higher and carry bigger bombs like JDAM’s. Just think if that strike was done with hellfires and it killed 20 and wounded 50 a couple 500#JDAM’s wouldve killed them all……..
    BTW the F-117 has been retired for a while now…..

  • Marlin says:

    Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has consistently spoken out against the unmanned missile strikes as being counterproductive. The media happily reports his resistance each time it happens. However, is just me or does his tone seem to be changing slightly? At the least, his spoken words don’t necessarily match the certainty of this headline in my opinion.

    Mr Qureshi praised unmanned drones whose missiles destroyed a Taliban training camp in northwest Pakistan on Thursday as ‘superior technology’ that can ‘take out high-value targets,’ but he also warned the US to weigh the pros and cons of its tactics.

    Dawn: Foreign Minister says drone attacks alienating people

  • Neo says:

    “BTW the F-117 has been retired for a while now…..”

  • Max says:

    They should be using Daisy-cutters instead of the 50-cc popper Hellfires.


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