US Predators strike in Pakistan for 4th time in 24 hours

US Predators struck yet again in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

Six Taliban fighters, including some possibly from Afghanistan, were killed and five more were critically wounded in an attack on a compound in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

“Two US drones fired three missiles” at the compound, a Pakistani intelligence official told AFP. “We have reports that six militants were killed.”

The Taliban reportedly cordoned off the area and are attempting to recover the dead and wounded from the rubble. No senior Taliban, Haqqani Network, or al Qaeda commanders have been reported killed at this time.

Miramshah is in the sphere of influence of the Haqqani Network, the al Qaeda-linked Taliban group led by mujahedeen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj. The Haqqani family runs the Manba Ulom madrassa in Danda Darpa Khel, a village just outside of Miramshah that serves as a hub of activity for the terror group.

The strike is the fourth recorded in the past 24 hours. In the four strikes combined, 24 terrorists were reported killed. Earlier today, US Predators or the more powerful Reapers struck twice in Danda Darpa Khel and once in Datta Khel, a known hub for al Qaeda’s leadership.

North Waziristan is a known haven for the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and a host of Pakistani and Central and South Asian terror groups, but the Pakistani military has refused to carry out an operation to root them out. The Pakistani military maintains a garrison in Miramshah, but it is confined to base while the US is forced to carry out airstrikes against the terror groups.

The number of strikes is unprecedented, as the US has yet to carry out four strikes in a 24-hour period since the campaign began in 2004 and was ramped up in July 2008.

With today’s strikes, the US has carried out 62 attacks inside Pakistan this year. The US exceeded last year’s strike total of 53 with a strike in Kurram late last month. In 2008, the US carried out 36 strikes inside Pakistan. [For up-to-date charts on the US air campaign in Pakistan, see LWJ Special Report, Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2010.]

All but six of this year’s 62 strikes have taken place in North Waziristan. Of the six strikes that have occurred outside of North Waziristan, four took place in South Waziristan, one occurred in Khyber, and one took place in Kurram.

Since July 2008, unmanned US Predator and Reaper strike aircraft have been pounding Taliban and al Qaeda hideouts in the tribal areas in an effort to kill senior terror leaders and disrupt the networks that threaten Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the West. [For more information, see LWJ report, Senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2010.]

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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  • Paul says:

    We should be sending drones into Quetta and Karachi where the REAL targets are.

  • Vern says:

    These strikes are good, but very few are being captured. None are being handed over to Us Forces or CIA. Why? The Obama “read them their rights policy.”
    This is “Courting Disaster” for the next AQ strike on the US.

  • AAndrew says:

    I’m happy to see the pace pick up of late after a bit of a lull. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that we’ve taken out some HVTs in the last week. Hopefully the uptick in pace is due to some good intel.

  • Doug says:

    Wow! The behavior is different and makes me wonder what they know and what they are up to.

  • Spooky says:

    And then Karachi can ensure no more supplies ever reach Afghanistan, forcing an expansion of the war, which just for material reasons just isn’t possible, or finding another route that excludes Pakistan entirely.
    You do what you can with a bad hand, not throw the hand away and punch the other player in the face.

  • Mike says:

    What on earth are you talking about? They’re not being captured because the US is afraid to put boots on the ground against the wishes of the Pakistanis, and when the Pakistanis arrest one of these guys, they do it for their own reasons.

  • blert says:

    We are in the final weeks before the campaign season must wind down.
    These locations are pretty high in the mountains, temperatures are falling fast.
    The constant drum beat of attacks against adult brigands has to create a Lord of the Flies command structure.
    We see some of this with really ill considered tactics. Such assaults are echoes of the Japanese banzai charges initiated when all hope was lost.
    Duty was heavy as a mountain, death as light as a feather.
    That AQ is dis-arming their own clients in North Afghanistan should hearten the ISAF.

  • kp says:

    blert: “These locations are pretty high in the mountains, temperatures are falling fast.”

    Not in the “mountains” given the location of most of the houses on the valley bottoms in Datta Khel at 600m to 700m. Around 2000 feet.

  • blert says:

    And just how much longer will the passes remain snow-free?
    We are just weeks away from too much snow in the passes.
    BTW, living under the shadow of the Hindu Kush means that long shadows make for a chilly short day. For brigands in tennis shoes, it doesn’t have to be 20 below before the boys have cold feet.
    At this point in the campaign season every commander has to be thinking about the winter ahead and how his troops can weather it.
    Being foot-bound, the Talibs can’t expect to zip anywhere.
    In WWII the US got to the point of shooting up ANY vehicle on the road. We did so in Italy before the Anzio breakout. We did so before the Normandy breakout. We did so immediately prior to the end of the Pacific Campaign.
    Based upon the tempo, our tactic may be no more sophisticated than shutting down vehicle traffic at a time the enemy is desperate to maintain it — they need the mobility.
    In that part of the world, I don’t imagine a whole lot of traffic. I suspect that advances in technique have made it extremely difficult for the Talibs to hide among the fishes.
    We’ve seen this effect in the U-Boat Campaign. After the longest time, poof, the U-Boat found itself unable to hide. Game over.


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