The US conducted its third airstrike inside Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal areas in the past 24 hours.
Unmanned US strike aircraft, likely Predators or Reapers, struck two vehicles in the village of Norak just outside of the main town of Miramshah in North Waziristan. Nine extremists, including five Haqqani Network fighters, three Uzbeks, an Arab, and a Chechen were reported killed in the strike, but no senior Taliban or al Qaeda commanders have been reported killed, according to AFP.
The region is under the control of the Haqqani Network, a Taliban group led by mujahideen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj. The Haqqanis are closely allied to al Qaeda and the Taliban, led by Mullah Omar.
The US has shifted to targeting the dangerous Haqqani Network in North Waziristan after pounding the Taliban in South Waziristan during July and August. Today’s strike in North Waziristan puts the number of attacks at seven for the month. Six of those seven strikes have targeted the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan.
The US also hit the Haqqani Network yesterday during a strike in the town of Danda Darpa Khel. Nine Haqqani fighters were reported killed in the attack. The Haqqani family runs the Manba Ulom madrassa in Danda Darpa Khel. Since the fall of 2008, the US has conducted several strikes on or near the madrassa.
Also yesterday, the US struck at the Taliban in the town of Sararogha in South Waziristan. Six Taliban fighters were reported killed.
Meanwhile, the Taliban confirmed that Kalimullah Mehsud was killed during an assault on the Frontier Corps base in Ramzak two days ago. Kamiullah was the brother of Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Taliban commander Qari Hussain Mehsud vowed to avenge the death of Kamiullah.
Baitullah Mehsud after his death, from a tape obtained by the BBC. AP Photo.
Also, the Taliban released a video confirming the death of Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who was killed in a Predator strike in early August. The video, which was obtained by the BBC, shows Baitullah covered in a white burial shroud while a man mourns over his corpse.
For more information on the strikes and high value targets killed, see “US aircraft strike in North and South Waziristan.”
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