The Pentagon must really like my blog. A drone strike near Miram Shah, home base for the Haqqani Network.
From the AP:
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A suspected American missile strike killed five alleged militants in northwestern Pakistan early Thursday, an intelligence official said, the fourth such attack on suspected insurgent targets there in 24 hours.
The barrage was one of the most intense since the attacks were stepped up more than two years ago in a bid to keep pressure on al-Qaida and its allies. Most are believed to be fired from unmanned, remote-controlled planes that can hover for hours above the area.
U.S. officials do not publicly acknowledge the missile strikes but have said privately that they have killed several senior Taliban and al-Qaida militants and scores of foot soldiers in a region largely out of the control of the Pakistani state. Critics say innocents are also killed, fueling support for the insurgency.
The latest attack took place before dawn on a house close to a disused match factory a little more than a mile (three kilometers) west of Miran Shah town, a hub for local and international militants in the North Waziristan region, an intelligence official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the policy of his agency. Five alleged militants were killed, he said.
Folks, its Miram Shah not Miranshah.
Also from the AP:
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) – A US drone attack Thursday killed six militants in Pakistan's rebel-infested northwestern tribal belt, security officials said -- the fourth strike in 24 hours.
The latest strike hit North Waziristan, the same tribal district targeted in three other drone attacks since Wednesday and a renowned hub for Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The target of the fourth drone attack was a compound in the outskirts of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.
A total of 24 militants were killed in the four strikes.
"Two US drones fired three missiles. We have reports that six militants were killed," a security official based in Peshawar told AFP.
Residents in Miranshah said they heard three huge explosions and later the villagers started announcements from local mosques asking for help.
"Militants have dug out six dead bodies. Five people were critically wounded," a local resident told AFP, requesting anonymity.
"They are still digging the rubble, two nearby houses were also damaged," he added.
Intelligence officials said they were trying to find out the nationalities of the militants killed, but they had no reports about the presence of any high-value target.
"An informer told us there were some Afghan Taliban among the dead but we are investigating," one intelligence official in Miranshah told AFP.
Two intelligence officials in Miranshah also confirmed the attack and the death toll.
Washington has branded the rugged area on the Afghan border -- part of which has been hit by Pakistan's catastrophic flooding -- a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth.
US forces have been waging a drone war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked commanders in the northwestern tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountains outside direct government control.
Officials in Washington say the drone strikes are a vital tool needed to protect foreign troops in Afghanistan and have killed a number of high-value targets including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.
The US military does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.
More than 1,040 people have been killed in over 100 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008, including a number of senior militants. However, the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the conservative Muslim country.
Al-Qaeda announced in June that its number three leader and Osama bin Laden's one-time treasurer Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had been killed in what security officials said appeared to be a drone strike in North Waziristan.
Under US pressure to crack down on Islamist havens along the Afghan border, Pakistan has in the past year significantly increased operations against militants in the area.
More than 3,700 people have been killed in the past three years in a series of suicide attacks and bomb explosions across Pakistan, many of them carried out by the Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists.
Finally, from the Long War Journal:
US Predators struck yet again in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
Six Taliban fighters, including some possibly from Afghanistan, were killed and five more were critically wounded in an attack on a compound in Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan.
"Two US drones fired three missiles" at the compound, a Pakistani intelligence official told AFP. "We have reports that six militants were killed."
The Taliban reportedly cordoned off the area and are attempting to recover the dead and wounded from the rubble. No senior Taliban, Haqqani Network, or al Qaeda commanders have been reported killed at this time.
Miramshah 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 Danda Darpa Khel, a village just outside of Miramshah that serves as a hub of activity for the terror group.
The strike is the fourth recorded in the past 24 hours. In the four strikes combined, 24 terrorists were reported killed. Earlier today, US Predators or the more powerful Reapers struck twice in Danda Darpa Khel and once in Datta Khel, a known hub for al Qaeda's leadership.
North Waziristan is a known haven for the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and a host of Pakistani and Central and South Asian terror groups, but the Pakistani military has refused to carry out an operation to root them out. The Pakistani military maintains a garrison in Miramshah, but it is confined to base while the US is forced to carry out airstrikes against the terror groups.
The number of strikes is unprecedented, as the US has yet to carry out four strikes in a 24-hour period since the campaign began in 2004 and was ramped up in July 2008.
With today's strikes, the US has carried out 62 attacks inside Pakistan this year. The US exceeded last year's strike total of 53 with a strike in Kurram late last month. In 2008, the US carried out 36 strikes inside Pakistan.
Note to Haqqani members: stay away from Danda Darpa Khel.