US kills Pakistani Taliban commander in drone strike

Khawray Tasweer 01

Khawray Mehsud.

The US killed a senior leader in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in a drone strike that took place yesterday in the tribal agency of Kurram. The strike is the first recorded in Pakistan since the end of January.

Muhammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, announced the death of Khawray Mehsud and two other jihadists, Umar and Talwar, in an email that was sent to The Long War Journal earlier today. An email eulogizing Khawray was also sent by Umar Media the official media arm of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Khawray, who was from Sararoga in South Waziristan, “was very close to martyred emir Baitulllah Mehsud and was his personal bodyguard,” the statement said. Baitullah was the first emir and founder of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who was also killed in a US drone strike in 2009.

Additionally, Khawray was described as a commander who possessed “great military skills.” He fought on multiple “fronts” in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to the martyrdom statement, he fought in Paktika and Kunar provinces in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani tribal agencies of Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Arakzai, Kurram, and North and South Waziristan.

Yesterday’s drone strike is the first by the US in Pakistan since Jan. 28, when the CIA-operated Reapers targeted a compound in North Waziristan. “Foreigners,” a term used to describe members of al Qaeda and other regional jihadist groups, were among seven jihadists reported killed in that strike. The US launched two other strikes in January, one in North Waziristan and one in South Waziristan.

Last year the US launched 24 airstrikes inside Pakistan; 19 of those strikes took place in North Waziristan and four more in South Waziristan. The number of operations has decreased since the program’s peak in 2010, when 117 attacks were recorded by The Long War Journal. [See LWJ report, Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2015.]

The US continues to target and kill al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan’s tribal areas despite previous claims by Obama administration officials that al Qaeda has been decimated and only two “core” al Qaeda leaders remain active. Al Qaeda also remains active outside of Pakistan’s tribal areas in the provinces of Baluchistan, Punjab, and Sindh, where US drones do not operate.

Khawray is the first senior jihadist leader or operative killed in a drone strike in Pakistan this year. The last senior al Qaeda leader reported killed in a strike in Pakistan was Omar Farooq, who was described as al Qaeda’s “coordinator for the Arab region and Pakistan.” Farooq was killed on Dec. 7, 2014. [See LWJ report, Senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2015.]

 

Other images released by the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan:

Umar:

Umar Shaheed

Talwar:

Talwar Shaheed

Khawray:

Khawray Tasweer 03

Khawray Tasweer 02Khawray Shaheed Taruf

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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9 Comments

  • Verneoz says:

    These deaths should be happening after good, long interrogations….not before.

    • mike merlo says:

      maybe a smart bomb could be constructed capable of having a conversation before blowing up its target

  • Andrew says:

    @Verneoz
    And how do you suppose that’s possible? They’re in the Pakistani tribal areas, so obviously it’s not.

  • rtloder says:

    Drone strikes are counter productive, how much expertise is evolved in TP leadership anyway, not much, it would be much better to send in volunteer commando units to seek out fugitives catch them off guard, like the outposts they attack .God have mercy on us.

  • orion says:

    He was a marked man, he lived by the sword and died by the sword. Drones are the most dreaded weapon for them as it kills them in their rat holes .

  • Devendra Sood says:

    The earth is rid of three maggots today.

  • Arjuna says:

    I wish LWJ would stop posting pictures of atrocities and dead people. I understand the need to report on what is in the public domain/on the Internet, but I think I have seen a uptick since the site got “upgraded”. The new site seems glossier and gorier and often obscene by traditional American journalistic standards, no matter what the world thinks. Daily Mirror style? At least consider a warning to minors and the easily offended on the home page if you want to keep highlighting the gore.

  • EEE says:

    Drones are fancy hi-tech now. But they will become as easy to get and use as toasters and hand guns. Where will we hide?

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis