US launches 2 more drone strikes in North and South Waziristan

The US launched two drone strikes against jihadists operating in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North and South Waziristan over the past two days. Thirteen people, including a “high level target,” are reported to have been killed in the two strikes.

Yesterday’s strike took place in the Kand Ghar area of the Shawal Valley in South Waziristan. The CIA-piloted Reapers or Predators fired a pair of missiles at a compound, killing five people, including an unnamed “high level target,” Dawn reported. It is unclear if the jihadists targeted in the strike were local Taliban fighters, al Qaeda, or members of other terrorist groups that are known to operate in the area.

In today’s attack, US drones launched several missiles at a compound in the Mangroti area of the Shawal Valley in North Waziristan that belongs to a Taliban commander known as Habib, Dawn reported. Eight “suspected militants” were killed and six more were wounded, according to local officials. It is unclear if Habib is among those killed.

The Shawal Valley, which spans both North and South Waziristan, is a known haven for al Qaeda and other terror groups operating in the region. A host of Taliban, Pakistani, and foreign terrorist groups gather in the Shawal Valley and then enter Afghanistan to fight US, NATO, and Afghan government forces.

The US has now launched two airstrikes in South Waziristan since the end of September. A strike on Sept. 28 in the Wana area of South Waziristan reportedly killed two “Arabs” and two local jihadists.

The Sept. 28 strike in South Waziristan was the first recorded in the tribal agency since April 17, 2013, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal. In the time between those two strikes, the US launched 30 strikes in North Waziristan and one more in the district of Hangu.

The US has carried out 11 drone strikes inside Pakistan this year; all 11 have taken place since June 11. The US drone program in Pakistan was put on hold from the end of December 2013 up until June 11, 2014 as the Pakistani government attempted to negotiate a peace deal with the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, an al Qaeda-linked group that wages jihad in Afghanistan and seeks to overthrow the Pakistani state.

Correction: The Oct. 6 strike in the Mangroti area of the Shawal Valley took place in North Waziristan, not South Waziristan.

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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