US Predators strike again in North Waziristan

The US carried out yet another airstrike in an area known to be an al Qaeda haven in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

Unmanned US Predators or the more deadly and capable Reapers launched an attack against two “militants” riding motorcycles in the town of Darazinda in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. Two missiles were fired at the motorcycles, and two more were fired “when two of their colleagues rushed towards them,” a Pakistani intelligence official told AFP.

Four “militants” were reported killed in the strike, but their affiliation to terror groups is unclear. No senior Taliban or al Qaeda commanders have been reported killed.

The Datta Khel area is administered by Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the Taliban commander for North Waziristan. Datta Khel serves as a command and control center for al Qaeda’s top leaders. Several of al Qaeda’s top commanders, including Mustafa Abu Yazid, the chief financial official and commander in Afghanistan, and Abdullah Said al Libi, the commander of al Qaeda’s military, have been killed in Predator strikes in Datta Khel in the last year. [For more information on al Qaeda’s presence in Datta Khel, see LWJ report Latest US Predator strike kills 5 in al Qaeda hub in North Waziristan.]

The pace of the strikes this month is unprecedented since the US began the air campaign in Pakistan in 2004. Today’s strike is the second in two days, and the 15th this month. Eight of the 15 strikes this month have hit targets in the Datta Khel area.

The US has carried out 69 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.]

The US campaign in northwestern Pakistan has targeted top al Qaeda leaders, al Qaeda’s external operations network, and Taliban leaders and fighters who threaten both the Afghan and Pakistani states.

The areas controlled by Bahadar and by the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network have been hit especially hard this year. Despite the fact that Bahadar and the Haqqani Network shelter al Qaeda and other South and Central Asian terror groups, the Pakistani government and military refuse to take action in North Waziristan. Bahadar and the Haqqanis are viewed as “good Taliban” as they do not attack the Pakistani state.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • m3fd2002 says:

    I’ve always believed that HVT’s travel by motorcycles in this part of the world. Perhaps this strike will bare fruit.

  • Cid says:

    The Obama administration is still reluctant to define the enemy as Islamic; even though, the United States is currently engaging terrorists from different countries.

  • Jim Vernon says:

    Bill, given the increasing pace of drone attacks, could you differentiate them by assigning a number code, such as 9-20-2, which would indicate a second strike on the twentieth of september, for example? Probably there are better ways to code it than that, but it seems some system is needed to cope with increasing volume. Perhaps a country prefix, such as Pak, A, S, or Y for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan or Yemen would also be useful. regards….

  • JT says:

    Here’s hoping that the cyclists were HVTs. If not, maybe they were messengers for some really big fish . . . .

  • Zeissa says:

    I greatly dislike Obama, but its not like Bush defined the enemy as Islamic either.
    Jim: I don’t think it’d be necessary to differentiate for country at least.

  • madashell59 says:

    If possible I would like to see a bubble map where the bubbles are placed on the map as to where the drone attack occurred and the size changes in coordination of the number of drone attacks.
    This would provide a quick glimpse at where the fighting is occuring.
    Maybe this would be too much info for the enemy.

  • JT says:

    another strike, this time in South Waz. Per Dawn News.


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