Aug 13 2008

New Predator Strike In Waziristan, Pakistan Forces Circle In On Militants In Bajaur – Updated!

Latest Update:  Sounds like we took out over 20 of the enemy and may have hit an al-Qaeda nest:

According to details, four missiles fired from Afghanistan hit the compound of the Baghar Camp.

There are conflicting reports regarding missile attacks. Some of the tribesmen claimed that the allied forces jet fighters fired these missiles while others said it was the ground attack launched from across the border.

Soon after the attack, the site was brought under siege by scores of masked militants. Except a few leading figures like Mullah Nazir and his close associates, other tribesmen were not allowed to contribute in the rescue activities.

The tribesmen believe that during the missile attack, some 20 to 25 persons, mostly foreigners, were present in the compound, which was allegedly being used for training of militants. The identity of the killed couldn’t be ascertained. The compound was badly damaged and razed to the ground.

The fact that the Taliban took control and would not let even locals help in the rescue operations indicates to me we nailed some big fish. And the numbers of foreigners present sound like a beefed up security detail, the kind that would surround Zawahiri or Bin Laden. It is possible that the story of Zawahiri’s injury and/or death was a false story, planted to generate traffic and communication with al-Qaeda leadership and pinpoint their location. The effort to contact Zawahiri, or his rush to get out his latest audio tape, may have been the intelligence we needed to isolate the target.

More news here, here and here on the attack (with variations normal to reporting in that part of the world).

Latest Update: Some regional reports now indicate a much higher death toll and the identity of the owner and possible purpose of the compound:

Local residents said US spy planes fired at least five missiles on a house in Baghar, 30 km from South Waziristan’s main town of Wana, killing more than 12 people and injuring several others late Tuesday night.

Sources in local hospital said six local Taliban were among the dead. Some reports said the death toll could be as high as 20 and that Arab and Turkmen militants were among the dead.

Reports also said the militant position that was targeted is linked to the group of Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Update: Reports overnight indicate there has been a 4 missile strike against a ‘training compound’ in South Waziristan:

A missile strike targeting an alleged militant gathering point has killed at least nine people, including foreigners, in north-western Pakistan.

At least four missiles struck a compound in a remote and mountainous area near Angore Adda in the South Waziristan tribal region, according to military and intelligence officials.

Emphasis mine. The last strike, late last month which killed 6 militants, was a 3 missile strike which I considered to be an extremely large number of missiles for such a small group of people. This overloading of the ordinance is always an indication to me we are on to someone of very high value.

This report notes 10 dead people, and narrows the source of the strike down to CIA/Special Ops forces known to be operating inside Pakistan’s tribal areas on the hunt for high value targets.  It would not surprise me if these forces, in country for at almost a year at least, have been focused on gathering and confirming their target lists and now are poised to take them out in rapid succession.

As usual we wait to see who we nailed this time. More as it comes out

Update: Reuters notes the attack was focused on one of two training camps and 15 people were in the target zone:

An intelligence official in South Waziristan, who declined to be identified, told Reuters that at least four missiles were fired from across the border hitting one of two militant training camps.

“This camp was run by Hizb-e-Islami and there were about 15 people including foreigners there at the time of the attack,” he said referring to a militant faction allied with the Taliban.

Militants sealed off the area and were not letting anyone approach, he said.

15 people including foreigners.  No wonder they used so many missiles. This report from the JerusalemPost  says the actual death toll is in the low 20’s and includes Arabs, Turkman and Pakistani militants. Here’s hoping the JPost has it right. More here from AFP.

– end update

Lots happening today in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan, along the Afghanistan border. It has long been claimed that al-Qaeda and their local Taliban allies have been gathering forces in the South Waziristan and Bajaur Agencies of FATA (click map above to go to larger version). Both regions have been the site of precision Predator strikes, taking out top al-Qaeda leaders. The last strike was on july 28th and took out a top AQ commander and possibly injured AQ’s number 2, Ayman Zawahiri.

Word just started to come out across the news wires that another Predator strike may have been made today in South Waziristan:

Four missiles were reportedly fired on the border area of South Waziristan Agency Tuesday evening, official sources said.

The sources said two US drones were flying over the area during the attack. They said four of the missiles hit a border area between Srakanda and Birmal in the restive South Waziristan Agency.

Usually these kinds of strikes inside Pakistan are aimed at very high value AQ targets and backed by very defendable intelligence. It may be we found where Zawahiri has been hold up since July 28th.

Across FATA in Bajaur Agency, things have really been heating up. The capitol city of Kahr is being evacuated in advance of a major thrust into the heart of the Islamo Fascist areas.

Security forces ask Khar residents to move out

Security forces have warned residents in three tehsils of Bajaur Agency to force militants to leave their areas.

“Get these unwanted people out of your areas, otherwise we will bomb places where the militants are present,” pamphlets dropped from helicopters in Utmankhel, Khar and Mamoond read. 

Apparently the militants are being pushed back on their heels from what reporting is out there:

Fighting between the security forces and the Taliban militants continued for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday in the Bajaur Agency where 28 more people, including 21 suspected militants, were killed in fresh air strikes by PAF fighter aircraft, Army gunships and artillery shelling.

Official and tribal sources informed The News from the troubled region that clashes between the security forces and the tribal militants continued outside Bajaur’s main town, Khar.

Sources said hundreds of militants, after capturing most parts of the tribal region, were advancing towards Khar, Bajaur’s regional headquarters. However, with the arrival of hundreds of Pakistan Army troops along with heavy weapons, the militants’ designs were thwarted and they were forced to retreat to their strongholds in Inayat Kalley, Mamond and Charmang areas.

Military sources said fighter aircraft and gunships early on Tuesday morning started targeting militants’ suspected hideouts in Koisar, Jar Kalley, Ghani Adda and Palang in Utmankhel Tehsil and Shah Naray, Haji Lawang in Khar and Raghgan in Salarzai sub-division.

More here. And in Kurram Agency, where the Taliban are fighting local tribes not happy about providing sanctuary to al-Qaeda, there is continued inter-tribal conflict, showing clearly that the radical Taliban do not control FATA, as the news media sometimes reports:

30 people are reported killed and 129 others injured as clashes between Tori and Bangash tribes continued in Kurram Agency on Tuesday. According to a private TV channel the total death toll had reached 68 after on the sixth day of clashes between the two rival groups.

One of the more interesting articles I ran across was an interview in the German paper Der Spiegel with Head of Afghanistan’s domestic intelligence agency.  What caught my eye was how the news media was portraying the militants and their attacks:

SPIEGEL: Who are these fighters who are not only killing Afghan and Western security forces, but also predominantly innocent civilians? And who is deploying them?

Saleh: The tribal agencies of Pakistan, like Bajaur and North and South Waziristan, are kept by the government as a strategic pool of fighters. From there, fundamentalist warriors are sent to fight in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Emphasis mine.  It is not often Western Media is so clear about who is killing the innocent Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Usually they are made out to be victims of America’s war, not victims of Islamo Fascist thugs. All in all, I would say the forces are good are on the march against the forces of darkness, and kicking some butt to boot.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “New Predator Strike In Waziristan, Pakistan Forces Circle In On Militants In Bajaur – Updated!”

  1. Redteam says:

    Excellent post. As are all your posts on the terrorist situation in Afghan and Pakistan.

  2. crosspatch says:

    It is so difficult to really get a handle on the situation from press reports in that region. I just hope we are making progress.

  3. Toes192 says:

    IF you see that predator, duck. Whoops. too late… You are about to be a dead Muslim terrorist. WD & Semper Fi