Local Taliban commander killed in latest drone strike in Pakistan

A US drone strike two days ago killed a “key” local Taliban commander who was preparing to lead a group of fighters into Afghanistan, according to the Pakistani press. The drone strike has drawn the ire of newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been sympathetic to the Taliban in the past and seeks to negotiate with the terror group.

The June 7 drone strike in the Shawal area of North Waziristan killed a “key Pakistani Taliban commander” who was known as Mutaqi and Bahadar Khan, according to Dawn. The compound where Muqati and his followers were staying was struck “when a pick-up truck arrived from the bordering area of Afghanistan.” Six fighters are thought to have been killed in the strike.

Mutaqi and his fighters “were planning to cross over into Afghanistan via Pash Ziarat valley, a strategic corridor linking the South and North Waziristan Agency and considered a gateway to Afghanistan,” Pakistani intelligence officials told the news agency.

The Obama administration has asserted that the CIA-operated drones are no longer conducting “signature strikes” that target groups of fighters. Instead, the administration has claimed that the strikes are directed only at terrorists who present an “imminent threat” of attacking US soil.

Friday’s drone strike sparked a harsh rebuke from Prime Minister Sharif. Yesterday, the Pakistani Foreign Office summoned the US Charge d’Affaires and issued a demarche.

“It was conveyed to the US [Charge d’ Affaires] that the Government of Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes which are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Foreign Office noted in a press release. “The importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes was emphasized.”

The US has conducted two drone strikes since Sharif’s party won the parliamentary election in mid-May. Waliur Rehman, the deputy emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, a faction that fights the Pakistani government, was killed in a drone strike on May 29. Before his death, Waliur Rehman had said the Taliban is “attached” to al Qaeda, and acknowledged that his forces are at war with the Pakistani government.

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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  • KaneKaizer says:

    That the “unidentified HVT”?
    ‘Fraid Siraj, Hakimullah, Big Z and Mullah Omar likely have a good few years left at this agonizing pace.

  • Dave says:

    This ordinary American strongly supports the continued U.S. conduct of drone warfare ANYWHERE in Pakistan, against ANYONE conducting, espousing, or supporting the killing of other people: a) because of their religious beliefs; b) because of their tribal, racial, or ethnic identity; or c) as part of an armed insurgency against any lawfully elected government.
    The U.S. has earned this right by the blood of Americans, innocent civilians killed in this country, and U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan.
    I would prefer that the Pakistani government police its own territory against these killers, but they are too incompetent, complicit, and corrupt to govern. Sharif, if you can’t control the killers in your own country, stop braying like a jacka$$.

  • Nic says:

    A minor error: “Yesterday, the the Pakistani Foreign Office summoned the US Charge d’ Affaires and issued a demarche.” should read “Yesterday, the Pakistani Foreign Office summoned the US Charge d’ Affaires and issued a demarche.”

  • Rod Gillis says:

    That taliban commander was on his way to Afghanistan to kill people, probably innocent people. What’s wrong with taking him out before he got there? Sharif condems the attack, okay, why doesn’t he go after these people so drones don’t have to be used? If the taliban had drones, do you think they wouldn’t use them? Time for a reality check.

  • DonOwen says:

    It would appear Talliban leadership is now safe as long as no one makes a move towards the border. This new policy is both much more difficult to do in the field, requires significantly more risk by ground sources, and instead of cutting the head off the dragon, we are clipping its toe nails.

  • Nolan says:

    So I can’t find if this guy was affiliated with the TTP, Hafiz Gul Bahadar or another group. Any idea? I know the best guess would be HGB, but I suppose he could have been independent as well. I imagined the target would turn out to be a bit more “major” in terms of notoriety. If anything maybe this is a statement that despite the pressure to cease the drone strikes entirely, we will still strike when necessary.

  • hibeam says:

    So Pakistan is safety land for Muslim lunatics again? A place to rest up and rearm between attacks into Afghanistan?

  • Gerald says:

    Maybe he should have stayed home!

  • Matthew says:

    Good call, Nolan. We did get someone important. It seems the “imminent threat of attacking US soil” has a loophole that applies to US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Pakistan which would explain why the TTP and Haqqanis are targeted.
    It’d be great if we got Hakimullah Mehsud and Adnan Shukrijumah before 2014 ends. The latter would be at least a minor blow to external operations.

  • popseal says:

    Any attack that disrupts Taliban activities is a good attack. Taliban would kill every American not like themselves if they had the chance. Good hunting MQ9s and your crews.

  • Magic Lady says:

    Read the book Ugly American. These action need to be accompanied by, hands on Food, Aid, without
    handcuffs by the gov’t politiciansl. Provide radios
    tv, and World TV, mandatory. Protected by U.S.
    Religious Broadcast with out hate. And a subliminal,
    military msg, that adheres to an Asian concept of
    war. To clean out weeds, there must be no roots. Even the average muslim, and banditos respect that.

  • Arif says:

    Today they attacked Kabul Airport, in retaliation perhaps, the recent drone attack had little effect in stopping them. Then otherwise also, when the americans are planning to leave Afghanistan, it will be prudent to leave in a conducive environment. Drone attacks make the situation difficult not only for Pakistan but also for the american and afghan forces on ground in Afghanistan. Innocent people, like children and women also die in the compounds which are attacked.

  • Matthew says:

    KaneKaizer, Mullah Omar is probably not in the tribal areas. He’s either in Karachi or Quetta. Zawahiri is probably not in the tribal areas either. He’s hiding in a compound in a city like Bin Laden did.

  • hibeam says:

    If we continue to fight back we only make things worse. Buy your Turban now before prices go up.

  • Scott says:

    Time to review US policy to the Pak Gov. If PM Sharif wont take responsibility for controlling his own territory we should stop our funding to Pak once and for all. We pay billions to payoff a corrupt and complicit Mil and ISI. Enough is enough! If they want to stir up the region, play Nuc politics, Islamo politics, fine, India will crush them once and for all. The last 12 years of war, 911 and all the rest can rightly be placed at the feet of the ISI. F them! And for any of you wondering, this from the lips of a very, very progressive Dem & proud American.

  • EDDIED. says:

    Doesn’t Taliban and Al Qaeda infringe on Pakistan’s sovereignty and territory rights? Shouldn’t they be thanking the USA for helping to rid their country of this scourge.


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