Archive for the ‘Predators’ Category

Militants in Pakistan kill 2 alleged US spies

November 8, 2008

Militants killed two people they claimed were spies for the United States and dumped their bodies with a warning in a Pakistani border region at the center of a campaign of suspected American missile strikes, an official said Saturday.

By MUNIR AHMAD, Associated Press Writer

Police found the bullet-ridden bodies of the two men on Saturday in the North Waziristan tribal region after a tip from residents, police official Gul Marjan said.

“See the fate of this man. He was an American spy,” was written on notes pinned to each of the bodies found in the village of Ghulam Khan, Marjan said. The notes said the men were from the neighboring Afghan province of Khost.

The warning was an indication that Taliban and al-Qaida militants are on the lookout for spies in Pakistan‘s wild border belt as the frequency of suspected American missile strikes on their hide-outs increases.

At least 18 strikes from what are believed to be unmanned U.S. military and CIA aircraft have hit Pakistan’s tribal regions since August, more than three times as many as in 2007. The rugged, mountainous region — where the Pakistani government has never had much control — is considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and his No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.

Many of the cross-border attacks have targeted North Waziristan, a base for Afghan and foreign militants involved in the growing insurgency against the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan.

Militants have executed scores of Afghans and Pakistanis….

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Petraeus says he’ll consider Pakistan criticisms

November 4, 2008

Washington’s new top war general said he would consider rising Pakistani criticism of U.S. missile strikes on suspected militant targets in the Muslim nation’s unstable border regions.

Pakistani military and government leaders told Gen. David Petraeus that such cross-border strikes fanned anti-American sentiment in an allied country considered vital to success in the war on terror. Petraeus was likely to hear more of the same in meetings set for Tuesday.

From  STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer Stephen Graham, Associated Press Writer

In an interview with CNN, Petraeus confirmed the Pakistani criticisms in Monday’s sessions.

U. S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus, left, meets Pakistani ...
U. S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus, left, meets Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Nov 3, 2008. Pakistani officials warned Gen. Petraeus on Monday that frequent missile strikes on militant targets in Pakistan fan anti-American sentiment in an Islamic country vital to the struggle against terrorism. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

“In fact, we got certain messages with each of those we talked to today and some of those were very clear and we have to take those on board,” CNN quoted Petraeus as saying. “The tone of the conversation was very frank and very forthright, as it should be,” he added later.

Petraeus was in Pakistan as part of his first international trip since taking over U.S. Central Command last week. He has met with President Asif Ali Zardari and army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani among other senior leaders so far.

The U.S. is concerned about Islamic militants using pockets of Pakistan’s northwest region as sanctuaries from which to support the escalating insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan.

Complaints from U.S. commanders about Pakistan’s efforts to counter the insurgents have been accompanied by a surge of missile strikes on suspected Taliban and al-Qaida targets, despite strong condemnation in Pakistan.

According to the state-run APP news agency, Zardari told Petraeus and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher that the attacks from drone aircraft should be stopped.

“Continuing drone attacks on our territory, which result in loss of precious lives and property, are counterproductive and difficult to explain by a democratically elected government,” Zardari was quoted as saying.

Zardari said the government was “under pressure to react more aggressively” to the strikes.

Washington is suspected in at least 17 missile strikes in Pakistan since August.

In September, a U.S. ground assault in a tribal region in Pakistan’s northwest spurred particular outrage. Days later, Pakistani troops challenged two American helicopters operating near the border and U.S. and Pakistani ground forces in the area exchanged fire.

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Pakistan tells Petraeus to stop missile strikes

November 3, 2008

The U.S. commander running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, held talks on Monday with Pakistani leaders who told him to stop U.S. strikes on militants in Pakistani territory.

Petraeus arrived in Pakistan on Sunday, at the beginning of his first foreign tour since taking charge of U.S. Central Command, highlighting U.S. concern about a country seen as crucial to stability in Afghanistan and to defeating al Qaeda.

U.S. analysts say Pakistan is facing a major threat from Islamist militants at a time when the nuclear-armed nation and its new civilian government are engulfed in extraordinarily difficult economic problems.

Petraeus has been hailed as an outstanding military leader for helping pull Iraq back from the brink of civil war with a strategy that brought a “surge” of 30,000 extra U.S. troops.

Both U.S. presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, have said they would put more focus on defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan and eradicating al Qaeda from Pakistan’s borderlands.

Both candidates have said they would boost U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan from the 33,000 there now.

By Augustine Anthony, Reuters

Petraeus was being accompanied in Pakistan by Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Richard Boucher.

Their visit comes as relations between the United States and Pakistan have been strained by a series of cross-border U.S. strikes, most by missile-firing pilotless drone aircraft, on militant targets in Pakistan.

President Asif Ali Zardari told Petraeus the attacks should stop, Pakistan’s state news agency reported.

“Continuing drone attacks on our territory, which result in loss of precious lives and property, are counter-productive and difficult to explain by a democratically elected government,” Zardari was quoted as saying.

“It is creating a credibility gap,” he said.


The most pressing problems for Petraeus include rising violence in Afghanistan and Taliban and al Qaeda sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan’s ethnic Pashtun tribal lands.

The United States and NATO are losing ground against an escalating Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, despite the presence of 64,000 Western troops, while al Qaeda has regained strength in Pakistan’s tribal region.

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U.S. Unrelenting in Drone Attacks on Pakistan’s Terrorists

October 31, 2008

Despite repeated protests from the government of Pakistan, the United States continues to wage an unrelenting remote control effort to hunt down and kill Arab terrorists, Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas near Afghanistan….

From the Associated Press

Suspected U.S. missiles slammed into two villages Friday, killing 27 people including foreign fighters in the latest strikes inside Pakistan, intelligence officials said.

One of the raids targeted an Arab militant identified as Abu Kasha Iraqi, but it was unclear if he was killed, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Department of Defense (DOD) image of a Predator surveillance ...
Department of Defense (DOD) image of a Predator surveillance drone. A suspected US missile strike in a Pakistani tribal area on Friday killed at least 16 mainly Arab militants, possibly including a mid-level Al-Qaeda commander, security officials said.(AFP/DoD/File/Jeffrey S. Viano)

Suspected U.S. unmanned planes have fired at alleged militant targets in Pakistan at least 17 times since mid-August, putting pressure on extremists accused of planning attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan — and perhaps terror strikes in the West.

But the marked uptick in their frequency is straining America’s seven-year alliance with Pakistan, where rising violence is exacerbating economic problems gnawing at the nuclear-armed country’s stability.

Scores of foreign al-Qaida members are believed to be hiding out in the lawless border area, which is considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden.

The United States rarely confirms or denies firing the missiles and the identities of those killed are also rarely made public. Locals frequently say civilians, sometimes women and children, are among the dead.

The first attack place in Mir Ali village in North Waziristan after drones had been flying overhead for several hours, the intelligence officials said.

The drones fired twice, hitting the house frequented by the Arab fighter and a nearby car, killing 20 people, the officials said, citing reports from agents and informers in the field.

Around two hour later, a second set of missiles hit a village in South Waziristan, killing seven people, including an unspecified number of foreign fighters, the officials said.

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US missile ‘just missed’ Al-Qaeda, Taliban commanders in Pakistan say

October 11, 2008


MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: A US missile strike targeting a high-level meeting of Al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders in a Pakistani tribal area missed most of them by just minutes, security officials said Friday. Two missiles hit the house of Pakistani Taliban leader Hafiz Sahar Gul in the North Waziristan district bordering Afghanistan on Thursday night, killing nine people including six Arab militants, the officials said.

“There was a meeting of around 30 foreign Al-Qaeda and local Taliban commanders in the house of Hafiz Sahar Gul but the majority of them left the building 10 minutes before the missile struck,” a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. “The six Arabs who were killed are all believed to be lower-level operatives.”

Pakistani soldiers stand alert with their weapons at an observation ... 
Pakistani soldiers stand alert with their weapons at an observation post in North Waziristan, along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.  Suspected US missile strikes in the Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan have killed bith terrorists and civilians.(AFP/File/Aamir Qureshi)

Officials did not immediately give the identities of the targeted militants. But they said that they were not Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

Residents said the other three people killed in the strike in the remote village of Tapi were women and children, but there was no official confirmation.

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