US kills 25 Taliban in second Predator strike in South Waziristan

The US conducted a second Predator airstrike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan today.

Unmanned Predator strike aircraft pounded a Taliban convoy, killing 25 fighters and destroying five vehicles.

“We have reports that 25 militants have been killed,” an intelligence official told Reuters.

The US was “gunning for a HVT [high value target],” or a senior al Qaeda or Taliban leader, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. “We believe there were some foreign al Qaeda fighters in that convoy.”

The attack on the convoy was the second today, and the third in 24 hours. Earlier today, eight Taliban fighters were killed when Predators fired six Hellfire missiles on a Taliban training camp in Karwan Manza. The camp is run by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Yesterday’s strike on a Taliban training camp in the village of Zangra in the Ladha region killed 12 Taliban and four al Qaeda fighters.

South Waziristan is a major focus of the US air campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Of the 29 US strikes carried out in Pakistan this year, 21 of them took place in South Waziristan.

Baitullah Mehsud’s territory has been hit 13 times and Mullah Nazir’s areas have been hit eight times. Both Nazir and Baitullah host al Qaeda training camps and shelter senior leaders of the terror group. Seven of the last nine attacks have targeted Baitullah’s camps and safe houses.

The US is well on its way to exceeding last year’s total of 36 airstrikes in Pakistan.

US attacks inside Pakistan during 2009:

US kills 25 Taliban in second Predator strike in South Waziristan

July 8, 2009

US Predator strike on Taliban camp kills 8 in South Waziristan

July 8, 2009

US Predator strike kills 14 Taliban in South Waziristan

July 7, 2009

13 Taliban fighters killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan

July 3, 2009

Scores of Taliban killed in second US strike in South Waziristan

June 23, 2009

Six killed in US Predator attack in South Waziristan

June 23, 2009

US strikes target Mullah Nazir in South Waziristan

June 18, 2009

US kills five in South Waziristan strike

June 14, 2009

US strikes Taliban, al Qaeda in North Waziristan

May 16, 2009

US strikes again in South Waziristan

May 12, 2009

US strike targets Baitullah Mehsud territory in South Waziristan

May 9, 2009

US strike kills 10 Taliban in South Waziristan

April 29, 2009

US airstrike targets Taliban training camp in South Waziristan

April 19, 2009

US Predator kills four in South Waziristan strike

April 8, 2009

US strikes Haqqani Network in North Waziristan

April 4, 2009

US launches first strike in Arakzai tribal agency

April 1, 2009

Latest US strike targets al Qaeda safe house in North Waziristan

March 26, 2009

US airstrike kills 8 in Baitullah Mehsud’s hometown

March 25, 2009

US launches second strike outside of Pakistan’s tribal areas

March 15, 2009

US missile strike in Kurram agency kills 14

March 12, 2009

US airstrike kills 8 in South Waziristan

March 1, 2009

US airstrike in Pakistan’s Kurram tribal agency kills 30

Feb. 16, 2009

US Predator strike in South Waziristan kills 25

Feb. 14, 2009

US strikes al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan

Jan. 23, 2009

US hits South Waziristan in second strike

Jan. 2, 2009

US kills 4 al Qaeda operatives in South Waziristan strike

Jan. 1, 2009

For a summary of US strikes inside Pakistan in 2008, see US strikes in 2 villages in South Waziristan.

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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13 Comments

  • doug says:

    Bill
    It seems that our guys must be getting some pretty good intel to be targeting a convoy of these knuckleheads… The top guys in the T-ban have got to very nervous right now. It’s starting to feel like time for another “truce” to buy time to regroup and re-arm.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    The intel must be strong about this targeting area and personnel.

  • Midnight says:

    The entire strategy at this point baffles me. Killing terror, 12 men at a time.
    There used to be a time, when and before Bill Clinton, when the hunt meant something. I believe that tactics that kill groups of 10 and twelve at a time should be defined as terror. In fact I believe that is just what they are attempting, unsuccessfully. There is such a place as forcing someone to be so responsible that you defeat yourself. The enemy gets a little too good. Could it be that there is no place so safe that the government cannot find you in a country where people are starving for the money and the need. I have claimed no win, as terrible as that may seem.
    Disbursed men again though, I’ll give you that. Have ya’ all met the paperboy?

  • Tyrone says:

    If you can take out the leaders, then you can defeat the enemy or at least drive them into disarray. We certainly would have taken out Hitler or any of his generals in WWII if given the chance. Similar policy here. Also, if you can put in a high FUD factor, it makes it hard to plan and hard to operate – too much fear and uncertainty to even have a meeting. So the strategy is effective and useful. When it comes to the enemy’s army, you’ve got to kill them where you can find them.

  • Cerb3rus says:

    Bill,
    Thanks for keeping us informed. There is no better source. Midnight, are you being intentionally incomprehensible?

  • mako says:

    midnight…what in the hell are you talkin’ ’bout?

  • Gerald says:

    The increase in attacks in South Waziristan, obiously show increased focus in that area. It seems to be paying off.
    My only question is it due to increased surveillance or increased activity? Hopefully the surge is having some effect.

  • Steevo says:

    It’s a taste of justice when villagers live in fear of Taliban/al Queda reprisals and subjugation, the terrorists, increasingly, have no place to hide. It appears there’s more acceptance of the strikes by Pakistani authorities. I hope we can pinpoint enemy and reign down ten times as many.

  • zotz says:

    We are denying the enemy a safe haven in Pakistan. That is the point. As long as we can maintain the Pak government’s support or at least its neutrality our strategy is basic common sense.
    As long as they harbor al-Qaida there can be no peace with them.

  • popseal says:

    Those deadly toys are the best thing since barrel rifling. It’s like turning on the light in the kitchen of a cheap apartment and seeing the roaches run for cover, except the drones have crystal clear night vision so there’s no refrigerator to hide under.

  • TS Alfabet says:

    Can we all agree that these Predator strikes will not, by themselves, win the war? The fight in A-stan is not a WWII conventional struggle. It is counterinsurgency and we are going to need far more than 68,000 troops and Predator strikes to see victory.

  • Brian says:

    TS Alfabet, the question is not whether the strikes will win the war. It is whether the strikes help the war effort. I think they do. We cannot afford to leave the Taliban a safe base of operations to train, regroup, heal and re-equip.
    Further, one of the purposes of the strikes is to disrupt AQ operations intended to occur elsewhere in the world but that are being planned and trained in the lawless areas of Pakistan. These kind of strikes make it very difficult to carry out the planning, training and communicating that is required to execute those kinds of operations.

  • BobK says:

    For sure these Predator strikes will not win the war. Nor are they intended to do so. Spread fear, yes. Mess with plans and operations, yes. More importantly, just as our guys have to watch for the ever present IED as they travel, the bad guys now have to watch for the “never know its there” PREDATOR.
    As the father of a soldier currently in eastern Afgan near Kyber Pass area I LOVE these things. They are a great equalizer and every target they get WILL NOT be aiming at my son and his buds. Take away the bad guys R & R areas and taliban life isnt so easy and safe.
    How can you not like that?
    As far as the insurgency goes once the locals see these guys are not invinceable and can be beat things will slowly turn

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