US kills 7 ‘militants’ in drone strike in South Waziristan

The US killed seven “militants” in a drone strike today in Pakistan’s Taliban-infested tribal agency of South Waziristan. The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or Reapers fired several missiles at a vehicle in the village of Shonkrai Narai in the Ladha area of South Waziristan, The Express Tribune reported. Seven jihadists were killed and two more were 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 Ladha area have not announced the deaths of any senior leaders, commanders, or operatives.

Ladha is a traditional base of support for the Mehsud branch of the Pakistani Taliban. The area is administered by Sajna Mehsud, who heads a splinter faction that broke away from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) in May 2014 due to a leadership dispute. Sajna, who is said to support peace talks and has allied with North Waziristan Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar, formed the Movement of the Taliban in South Waziristan. The spokesman for the new Taliban faction accused its parent organization of being “un-Islamic.” [See LWJ report, Discord dissolves Pakistani Taliban coalition.]

The US added Sajna, who is also known as Khan Said, to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in October 2014. His forces wage jihad in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Today’s strike is just the second recorded in Pakistan this month. On Sept. 1, the US killed five jihadists, including three Uzbeks, in a strike on a compound in North Waziristan.

The US has also targeted Taliban fighters just across the border in the district of Gomal in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktika. On Sept. 9, the US killed 15 fighters from the TTP in an airstrike.

Today’s drone strike in South Waziristan is the eleventh 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. [For more information, see LWJ report, Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2015.]

The Pakistani military claimed that South Waziristan has been secured after launching an offensive against the TTP in 2009. But the military did not target Taliban factions such as the Mullah Nazir Group, which shelters and supports the TTP and al Qaeda.

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:

    whoopdeedoo, the Fumblelina’s in the US Intelligence Community launch another whatever to where ever & killed some who ever’s either coming or going to when ever. I’m beyond sure a tremendous amount of thought & analysis went into this ever so carefully combed over data to arrive at the decision to pull the kill button. No matter at least the Taliban found the time to attack a Pakistani Air Base somewhere in the vicinity of Peshawar

  • irebukeu says:

    The CIA is up at bat again. “crack”!! Base hit.
    You Know, I love these drones. What weapon strikes more fear into the heart of a Pakistan based jihadi more than reapers and predators. It seems to be the only way to reach out and get these guys. The occasional boots on the ground special forces raid is problematic to be sure and drone strikes in Pakistan may only be politically tenable while we have troops in Afghanistan (to allow Pakistani politicians the “out” by saying the strikes come from Afghanistan not Pakistan and are not done with permission and the real problem is India anyway, blah, blah, blah).

    The downside is that it seems to enrage the innocent Pakistanis that now have to contend with the fact that any minute they or their children could be droned out of existence. The odds of it are probably pretty dang low but they, having to endure the odds compounding daily might see it a different way. The stories to be read coming out of Pakistan’s FATA seem to support that they see it a different way. Add to that the bodies of the women and children caught up in the bombings. Even most pakistanis who do not face even the threat of being droned hate them and among those, most of them want them stopped. It seems that the government is going against the wishes of its people in allowing these drone strikes to continue. This is why they invent stories to explain the origin of the drones and we go along.

    In the end these lies, deceptions and intrigues are not for us. It is not the American way. The solution is to be found among the regions most interested parties. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, China, India, Russia The list goes on but the United States should be far down on that list.

    In 1839 the British paid ‘rahdari’- basicly ‘road tax’ to the Ghilzai tribes to keep the passes open and not to interfere with British lines of communication back to India. They (the Ghizali) closed the passes which started the insurrection when the British cut their payments, which led to the tenfold decimation of the Kabul garrison in January 1842.

    Even though taliban control of Afghanistan would be a disaster for Russia and Pakistan the United States pay both the Pakistanis and the Russians today to allow the coalition to ferry supplies and equipment through their territory. Kyrgyzstan has us over a barrel for some quarter billion dollars just for the use of one airbase.
    All three shake down the American taxpayer for billions each year, demanding more over time just like those tribes in 1839 when if it wasn’t for our endeavors they each would be paying billions each year themselves and some of them buying American equipment to boot all the while losing citizens and infrastructure due to islamist attacks.

    Once the cargo makes it to Afghanistan the same Ghilzai tribes that both fleeced and stripped the British, get paid to keep the passes open while they at the same time constitute the majority of the modern day Taliban’s foot soldiers. Nice huh?
    Afghanistan must have a shortage of cash registers and miniature safes
    The taliban must be in need of accountants.

    American reactions to Russian action in the Ukraine must be tempered by the knowledge that the Russians hold half the road transportation strings for coalition cargo going into Afghanistan and the taliban can shut down the other half at almost any time.

    The other half, in the hands of Pakistan get shut down over incidents just like this one-this drone attack. Pakistan and the taliban conspire to close the passes, to inflict punishment on the kafir and infidel (to explain the internal justification they can ALWAYS use).
    Everything’s connected when you weave a tangled web.
    So for now, another crack of the bat and another base hit.
    let’s keep running up the score.
    What else can we do?
    No seriously… what else can we do?

  • not a wmd says:

    I’ve read m merlo before and respect him. Is he right that this operation or kill is a waste of time ,resources, etc? What then should be done about his endless stream of terrorists half a world away? Does it matter?

  • mike merlo says:

    @not a wmd says:

    maybe I should tone down my timbre a bit when reflecting on the Drone Strikes & just about everything else involving the Fumblelina’s in the Intelligence Community & the US Administration concerning GWOT but until evidence & actions surface indicating otherwise I’ll just continue singling them out for the 1/2 hearted devious propagandizing incompetent buffoons that they are & no I don’t ‘see’ any of those Drone Strikes as a “waste of time.” What is a” waste of time” is the amount time, manpower & resources dedicated (money?) to kill the target(s) when obviously all that collection of data made available many more people to kill than just 7 & a couple of wounded.

    “What then should be done about his endless stream of terrorists half a world away? Does it matter?” Yes it matters a lot & as far as I’m concerned much much more than is presently being devoted to this problem. IMO most of what we’re doing is adequate, particularly on the Combatant/Military part of the equation, but much of that could should be expanded upon & heavily strengthened. There’s a Full Fledged Regional War playing out in the Middle East right & just about every Nation has rather hohumm attitude towards the whole affray while ISIS/ISIL/IS, Al Nusrah & the rest of their like minded brethren are approaching this whole dilemma with a do or die mentality. Not good. This is how World Wars start. By the way thx for the compliment


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