US helos kill 30 Haqqani Network fighters in strikes in Pakistan

US attack helicopters have killed more than 30 Haqqani Network fighters inside Pakistan while repelling a cross-border attack.

US forces struck at the Haqqani Network fighters on Friday after they attacked Combat Outpost Narizah, an Afghan base just eight miles from the Pakistani border in the district of Tani in Khost province.

The Haqqani Network fighters were hit in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, which is just across the Pakistani border.

“An air weapons team in the area observed the enemy fire, and following International Security Assistance Force rules of engagement, crossed into the area of enemy fire,” the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release. “The ISAF aircraft then engaged, killing more than 30 insurgents.”

ISAF confirmed that the helicopters struck at the Haqqani Network fighters in Pakistan. The attack helicopters launched their attack “after following the proper rules of engagement under inherent right of self defense,” Master Sergeant Matthew Summers, a public affairs official, told The Long War Journal.

On Saturday, ISAF launched a second attack against the Haqqani Network, after taking fire in the border area. “Several additional insurgents” were killed in that attack.

No civilians have been reported killed or injured in either of the attacks.

The assault on Combat Outpost Narizah is the sixth against outposts in eastern Afghanistan since the end of August. [For more information on recent Haqqani Network attacks on US and Afghan bases, see LWJ report, US, Afghan forces defeat Haqqani Network suicide assault on FOB Gardez.]

The Haqqani Network is based in the Miramshah region in North Waziristan, and has close ties to al Qaeda and other Pakistani and Central Asian terror groups. The Pakistani government refuses to deal with the Haqqani Network, and has resisted US pressure to carry out an operation to defeat the group. [For more information on the Haqqani Network, its links to al Qaeda, and ISAF operations targeting its leadership, see LWJ report, US troops defeat Haqqani Network assault on base in Khost.]

Hot pursuit

ISAF forces are permitted to pursue Taliban forces across the border if they are engaged in fighting or are under attack. The US and Pakistan have agreed to a set of rules for hot pursuit: US forces must be engaged with the Taliban or al Qaeda as they cross into Pakistan; US forces should not penetrate more than six miles into Pakistani territory; and US forces may enter Pakistan if they have identified the location of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahri, or Mullah Omar. Pakistan has denied that the agreement exists, and the US military will not comment.

The US has pursued Taliban fighters across the border multiple times. Two of the most high-profile incidents occurred in 2008. The first took place in June 2008, when US troops pursued a Taliban force from Kunar into Pakistan’s tribal agency of Mohmand, and killed 11 fighters. The Pakistani government claimed that the US killed Frontier Corps troops, but the US released video of the incident showing the Taliban being targeted as they fled from Kunar into Mohmand. Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps is known to support the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The second incident took place in Khyber in November 2008, when US forces launched rocket attacks and ground strikes into the Tirah Valley, a known haven for al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Lashkar-e-Islam. Seven people were reported killed and three were wounded in the strikes.

The US also launches covert airstrikes using unmanned Predators and Reapers against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Pakistani government officially protests the covert strikes but quietly approves.

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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  • joey says:

    “An air weapons team in the area observed the enemy fire…”
    An air weapons team that close to the Pakistani border??
    Specops?? Anyway, good news. “Strange” that Pakistani border guards had no prior intel.

  • Charley says:

    Waiting for the Pakistan government protest against hot pursuit. We need more of these to make any significant progress in WOT, since they will not act to clear their side of the border. It was troubling to see Lara Logan’s account on 60 minutes yesterday.

  • Charley says:

    From WaPo…Pakistan protests NATO airstrikes on its territory…Pakistan said that unless corrective measures are implemented, it will have to “consider response options.”
    Hmm…Isn’t this already a response to their non-action? Hopefully now they will respond with some real action on their side.

  • Mr T says:

    Unbeleivable. They “protest” in public but quietly approve. We can go 6 miles in but can go anywhere for the big 3. Since Omar is now in Karachi, I guess that means we can go there.
    What a messed up place Pakistan is. The public relations part of this war is huge. That we have agreements that deliberately allow P-stan to hide the real public relations so the “world” feels better or so their “people” feel better about what is going on is absurd. This absudity is part of why this war goes on and on. The world and the Pakistan people just play both sides of the fence. They can’t seem to figure out who the bad guys are and these p. r. ploys don’t help.
    I’ll give you a hint. The good guys wear uniforms and don’t kill prisoners in captivity. The bad guys hide behind woman and children and kill and intimidate innocents indiscriminately.
    Wake up world. The US are the good guys.

  • kp says:

    The air weapons team on the border seems to match up with other recent reports that indicate pressure on both side of the NW/AFG border with SF on the AFG side and perhaps CIA “native” forces across the border plus UAVs for surveillance and attack in PAK.

    For example a previous ISAF report that a HN commander killed in NW was observed on the AFG side of the border 3 days before the hit in PAK perhaps implying active (or passive) following.

    We seem to be sending a clear message to HN that we are willing to engage their forces on both sides of the border.

  • TMP says:

    @ KP, +1 on comments – And it truly is dumb-founding to me, especially with the GWB Admin, for 6 years…..That the notion that we will pursue targets we deem a threat, or simply remove targets we deem even a potential threat inside of Pak or not…..come hell or high water has not been SOP since 01.
    I understand all the psycho babble reasons regarding borders and Pak soveriegnty….but the silly reality is no one in these regions even recognize said “borders” to begin with… least of all the Pak Gov’t (they aren’t even there….never have been, for most of it).
    Allowing Ops inside of Pak to stay within the CIA…..makes our OODA loop so easily operated inside of, it is foolishness. Pak Gov’t should be told in no uncertain terms what needs to be said (in private) and our military should be allowed to be tasked with gathering its own Intel and acting on such within these border regions. They would fall as quickly as Stan, itself, did. We have built these regions up to be something they are not. In terms of taking out what we need to. Or at the very least flushing said things out.

  • Hannibal says:

    It’s scary to think that Pakistan have:
    nuclear weapons;
    an uneducated and poor people (except the corrupt ruling class);
    religious & ethnic division &
    a continual flow of natural disasters. I wonder where it will all end?

  • Don Vandervelde says:

    We’ve seen this movie before, something about Laos and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As I recall, it didn’t turn out well.
    With Nato, local allies, The Northern Alliance, Afghans, Including a few Indian mountain troops, N. Waz should be taken, period. The Paks’ hurt feelings can be sorted out later. It has risk, but not as much as endless war with one or two hands tied behind our back.


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