Archive for the ‘Baitullah Mehsud’ Category

Another Missile Strike in Pakistan: Target is Militant Leader

October 17, 2008

By Candace Rondeaux and Shaiq Hussain
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, October 17, 2008; Page A21

KABUL, Oct. 16 — A suspected U.S. missile strike near the headquarters of a top Taliban leader in Pakistan’s tribal areas Thursday killed six people and injured five others, according to Pakistani intelligence officials and residents.

The attack occurred late Thursday morning, said Ikramullah Mehsud, a resident, when a U.S. Predator drone fired several missiles on two homes in the town of Ladha, in the tribal area of South Waziristan.

Pakistan

A Pakistani intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the bombardment had killed at least two extremist commanders believed to be of Arab origin.

“The others killed were most likely local militants, but we don’t have any information about the owners of the two houses that were bombed,” the official said.

The Pentagon had no comment on the strike.

As Pakistani efforts to control the flow of Islamist insurgents across the border into Afghanistan have faltered this year, U.S. missile attacks on insurgents sheltering in Pakistan’s mountainous tribal areas have increased.

There have been 12 such attacks in the region since August. Most of the recent strikes have occurred in South and North Waziristan, which are believed to be the main operational bases for top al-Qaeda leaders.

Thursday’s attack in South Waziristan was notable because it marked the first aerial assault in more than a year on a well-known redoubt of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, according to another Pakistani intelligence official.

The official said there was no indication that Mehsud was nearby when the attack occurred. But residents told authorities that several Arab men believed to be allied with the Taliban had recently been seen in the area.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/10/16/AR2008101601511.html

Pakistan: U.S. Drone Attacks Foreign Militants in Previously, Isolated, Untouched Area

October 16, 2008

BBC

A US drone has fired a missile for the first time in territory controlled by Pakistan’s most wanted militant, Baitullah Mehsud, officials say.

Local people say that at least one person was killed in the attack in South Waziristan. Intelligence officials said five people died.

Reports say the drone may have been targeting a group of Uzbek militants.

Department of Defence (DOD) file photo shows an unmanned Predator ...
A drone like this was probably responsible for the latest strike…..

Meanwhile, police in the district of Swat say a suicide bomber has killed at least two policemen.

Civilian casualties

There have been a series of US drone attacks inside Pakistani territory along the border with Afghanistan in recent weeks….

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7673130.stm

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Associated Press

The missile strike in South Waziristan hit a house overrun with foreign and Pakistani militants since last year, when its owner fled the remote, forested area considered a likely hiding place for al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, officials said.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials told The Associated Press that reports from informants and field agents suggested one foreign militant died and another foreigner was injured. Asked if any al-Qaida leaders had been hit, the officials said Arabs were living in the house but the identities of the victims were not yet clear.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media publicly.

A local resident, Javed Mehsud, said he saw a number of unmanned planes in the sky before and after three explosions destroyed the house in the village of Tapargai.

“I could see smoke rising but nobody dared go to look because the spy planes were still over our area,” he said by telephone.

U.S. military and CIA drones that patrol the frontier region are believed to have carried out at least a dozen missile strikes against suspected militant targets since August.

The U.S. rarely confirms or denies involvement in the attacks, which have intensified amid frustration in Washington at the escalating insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan.

All of the recent strikes, as well as a highly unusual raid by helicopter-borne commandos, have been in the regions of North and South Waziristan, key strongholds for Islamic militants fighting on both sides of the border.

With Pakistan’s army also stepping up operations in its volatile northwest, militants have responded with a sequence of bloody suicide attacks, including last month’s truck bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel.

Thursday’s blast wrecked a police station in Swat, a picturesque valley where fighting has raged for more than a year.

Police said insurgents opened fire on their station in Mingora, Swat’s main town, after midnight with guns and rockets before the bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle next to the police compound.

District police chief Dilawar Bangash said one officer and three paramilitary troops died and 26 people were injured, many of them seriously.

Meanwhile, security forces backed by tanks and warplanes opened a second major front in the nearby tribal region of Bajur in August.

Seven militants were killed Thursday in Bajur by plane and helicopter gunships attacks, said Jamil Khan, the No. 2 ranking government representative in Bajur.

However, there are doubts about whether Pakistani security forces can defeat the militants without inflicting heavy civilian casualties and eroding support for the country’s pro-Western government.

Western governments worry that al-Qaida is regrouping in the border zone and that would-be terrorists from Europe and North America are going there to receive training.

Pakistan‘s political and security problems are deterring foreign investment and exacerbating the country’s economic problems, which include runaway inflation and slowing growth.

On Thursday, the Pakistani rupee dropped to more than 82 to the dollar, continuing a slide that has seen it lose more than 30 percent of its value this year.

Also Thursday, prison guards seized grenades and handguns from Islamist militants after a protest at a jail in Dir in volatile northwestern Pakistan. Authorities said inmates were protesting poor food and a lack of decent space for meeting visitors.