3 Uzbeks among 5 ‘militants’ killed in drone strike in North Waziristan

The US killed five “militants,” including several Uzbeks, in the first drone strike in Pakistan in nearly a month.

The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or Reapers fired several missiles at a compound in the village of Lawara Banga in the Shawal Valley area of North Waziristan, according to news reports from the region. Five jihadists, including three Uzbeks were killed, and three more militants were seriously wounded in the strike.

The identities of those killed were not disclosed. The Taliban and other jihadist organizations such as al Qaeda that are known to operate in the Shawal Valley have not announced the deaths of any senior leaders, commanders, or operatives.

The Uzbeks may have been members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, whose leader recently swore allegiance to the Islamic State, or the splinter Islamic Jihadi Union, which remains loyal to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Both groups are known to operate in North Waziristan.

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

The US has launched 28 drone strikes in the Shawal Valley since September 2010, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal. The last recorded strike in the Shawal Valley took place on June 6. Nine members of the Haqqani Network, a Taliban subgroup that is close to al Qaeda, were killed.

Senior jihadist commanders have been killed in the area in the past. Abdul Shakoor Turkistani, the former emir of the Turkistan Islamic Party, was killed in a strike in August 2012; while three al Qaeda military trainers were killed in an attack there in August 2013.

Yesterday’s drone strike in North Waziristan is the tenth reported in Pakistan this year. Last year, the US launched 24 airstrikes inside Pakistan; 19 of them took place in North Waziristan, four in South Waziristan, and one in Kurram. The number of operations in Pakistan has decreased each year 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.]

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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  • mike merlo says:

    so this latest incarnation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail is the ‘gift’ that just keeps on giving. Hopefully in the not to distant future India & Afghanistan finally get around to just ganging up on Pakistan & ‘War-it-up’ with them & finally bring a halt to all of their nefarious schemes

  • AsfandYar Wazir says:

    Its almost 15 months since the pakistan army initiated operation ‘zarb e azb’ to flush militants and destroy their hideouts in North Waziristan. 6 months into the operation the army claimed that 90 percent of NW has been cleared. I wonder why it is taking so long to clear the rest of 10 percent so much time? My understanding and what I have seen on the ground is that they are not serious about clearing the area. They are milking the international community for more aid.The US is paying billions through the CSF to pakistan and pakistan want continuation of the aid and what better way to convince the americans that they are seriously working on neutralizing the militant threat. Before the operation, militants were informed of the operations and while the common people were strictly scrutinized and forced to leave for Bannu, militants were allowed to move freely into south waziristan (every one in south waziristan is aware of this open secret) and Kurram agency.

  • gitsum says:

    Yeah go claim your allegiance; to a Hellfire missle that is, and off you go. Eaxctly why they’re called Hellfire! Well done drone pilot and cheers on a Holiday!


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