Aug 21 2008

Update on Latest Missile Strike, New Suicide Bomb Attack In Pakistan

In a post yesterday I noted another apparent US missile strike inside the Tribal Areas of Pakistan along the Afghanistan border. Some reports this morning claim the two US missiles took out a significant number of Arab fighters (al-Qaeda) in the FATA Agency of South Waziristan:

Twelve people, most of them alleged foreign fighters, were killed and five others sustained serious injuries when a US Predator fired two Hellfire missiles on a house in Zari Noor village of the South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on Wednesday.

The compound was an apparent safe house for al-Qaeda who frequented it often:

Tribal sources based in Wana said the majority of those killed in the air strikes were reported to be Arab fighters staying as guests with the Wazir tribal elder. “They might be Arabs as the Taliban immediately cordoned off the village and took the damaged buildings into control,” tribal sources said, adding the militants did not allow even local pro-militant villagers to help them retrieve the bodies of the slain and injured people from the rubble.

Sources close to the militants said Yaqub, his cousin, and nephew were among the five injured and the rest were reportedly foreigners. They said Yaqub was widely known for his good contacts with Arab fighters and was often seen playing host to non-locals at his Hujra.

“He himself has never been a Jihadi but always kept good contacts with Mujahideen and invited them to his house,” militant sources said. They, however, expressed ignorance when asked about the presence of any high-value target in the house during the attack. “It is possible that important people left the house as the drones had been flying over the village since Wednesday morning,” the sources said.

With a good number of al-Qaeda being present and clearly a high value target to warrant the predator strike this could be some people of interest. Or it could simply be part of the deal with Pakistan’s new government to help eradicate the cancer growing in their country. The Long War Journal has more on this strike.

The other big news of the day is the cowardly counter-attack by the extremists against Pakistan. Today two suicide bombers targeted a weapons factory:

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of Pakistan’s main weapons complex on Thursday, killing at least 37 people and wounding about 50, police said.

The bombers struck at two different gates just as many workers were leaving the sprawling facility in Wah, a garrison city about 20 miles west of the capital Islamabad.

There have been many hundreds of militants killed over the last week or so in the tribal areas (I have seen numbers as high as 800). This kind of action is not going to stop Pakistan’s military forces unless their leaders surrender mentally to the terrorism. This kind of action WILL create anger and hatred against the jihadists with the local Muslim Community. This is the exact same kind of mistake al-Qaeda made in Iraq when the Awakening and Surge were starting off. They used chlorine based bombs on Sunni markets and there was no turning back from their pending defeat.

In other news we do see some more signs of the local tribes and people starting to fight off the jihadis, indicating the Pak Awakening may be starting to come to fruition:

At least 18 militants were killed and several others were injured on Wednesday when security forces successfully repulsed militants’ attack on their checkpost at Mamoond, Bajaur Agency, the authorities have claimed.

Meanwhile, officials at Khar Headquarters of Khyber Agency also informed that houses of several militants, including that of Taliban leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad and spokesman Maulvi Omar, were demolished when gunship helicopters targeted them.
The officials further said that security forces also consolidated their positions in Khar and its surrounding areas.

One of the most interesting Agencies along the border in FATA is the Kurram agency, where Sunni Jihadis from Afghanistan and other areas of FATA are fighting local Shiia tribes. And now the Pakistan government is coming in to take control of the situation:

The government has decided to launch a massive operation against the two warring groups in Kurram Agency who did not stop fighting and ignored a deadline given to them.

“The government is closely monitoring the situation in Kurram Agency and has reiterated that any violence will be effectively dealt with. The Frontier Constabulary has been given a go-ahead to take action as deemed necessary in case of violation of the ceasefire,” Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik said.

There have been previous reports that the Shiia welcome the government forces to come in and enforce security. Another sign the tribes are tiring of the Jihadis.

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