Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hafiz Gul Bahadur Update 12Sep10

It seems that the Pentagon has been reading my blog and decided to send Gul a care package...

From the AP:

MIR ALI, Pakistan – A suspected U.S. missile strike early Sunday killed at least four suspected associates of a warlord who is fighting Western troops in Afghanistan, intelligence officials said.

Powerful militant leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur struck a truce with the Pakistani military and agreed to stay on the sidelines last year as it waged an offensive in the South Waziristan tribal area against the Pakistani Taliban, a group dedicated to attacking the Pakistani state, among other targets.

Bahadur has focused instead on battling U.S. and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan

Two Pakistan intelligence officials told The Associated Press that two missiles targeted a home in the village of Tata Khel in the North Waziristan tribal area where Gul's associates were believed to be staying. They said three men were believed to be wounded.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

A steady series of suspected U.S. missile attacks have happened in North Waziristan, a lawless region home to al-Qaida leaders plotting attacks in the West, insurgents battling foreign troops in Afghanistan and extremists behind bombings in Pakistan.

Four airstrikes pounded the area over 24 hours this past week, the last killing five suspected militants early Thursday, officials said.

There were at least four other attacks earlier in the week.

Most are believed to be fired from unmanned, remote-controlled planes that can hover for hours above the area.

Pakistan has condemned the American missile strikes as violations of its sovereignty, warning that the civilian casualties they cause deepen anti-U.S. sentiment and complicate the fight against terrorism.

But many suspect the two countries have a deal allowing the drone-fired attacks.

And from the Long War Journal:

The US killed 18 "militants" in three Predator airstrikes today in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

The first strike took place just outside of Miramshah in the town of Danda Darpa Khel. The strike targeted a compound, killing 10 "militants," Pakistani security officials told AFP. The US Predators returned to Danda Darpa Khel and struck again at another compound, killing four more Haqqani Network fighters, according to Dawn.

The village of Danda Darpa Khel is in the sphere of influence of the Haqqani Network, the al Qaeda-linked Taliban group led by mujahedeen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Siraj. The Haqqani family runs the Manba Ulom madrassa in the village of Danda Darpa Khel, a hub of activity for the terror group. The US has struck at targets in Danda Darpa Khel seven times since Aug. 20, 2009, and nine times since September 2008.

The other strike took place in the town of Ambor Shaga in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. Three missiles were fired at a vehicle, killing four more "militants."

No senior Taliban or al Qaeda commanders have been reported killed in any of the three strikes, and the targets of the attacks are not known.

Datta Khel is the stronghold of Hafiz Gul Bahadar, a Taliban commander who is viewed as "good Taliban" by the Pakistani military as he does not advocate attacks on the Pakistani state. Bahadar supports attacks in Afghanistan and shelters al Qaeda fighters in tribal areas under his control.

Datta Khel also serves as a headquarters for al Qaeda. The US has killed top al Qaeda leaders Mustafa Abu Yazid, Abdullah Said al Libi, and Zuhaib al Zahib in strikes in the area over the past year.

Four of the last six Predator strikes in Pakistan have all taken place in Datta Khel. Five Taliban were killed in a strike on Sept. 6. Nine Taliban fighters, including a commander known as Inayatullah, were killed in a strike on a compound in Datta Khel on Sept. 3. And eight Taliban fighters were killed in a strike on a compound and a vehicle in Datta Khel on Sept. 4.

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