Mil News CIA drone strike

John A Silkstone

Mi General
MI.Net Member
Jul 11, 2004
A CIA drone strike on a suspected militant hideout today killed 12 people in an attack aimed at killing the top Taleban commander in Pakistan.

A local tribal leader said Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in the early-morning raid, but the Taleban insisted he was still alive. Pakistani officials have not yet made any claim over his fate.

In the strike a pair of missiles hit a mud-walled compound which previously housed an Islamic seminary in Pasalkot village in North Waziristan where Mehsud, the chief of the Pakistani Taleban movement, was believed to be staying.

Pakistani security officials confirmed Mehsud was the target. He had succeeded Baithullah Mehsud last year after he was killed in a drone strike on his house in South Waziristan last August.

North Waziristan is also a major stronghold for the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taleban faction with links to al-Qaeda that many suspect was involved in the last month’s suicide bombing on a CIA base in Afghanistan which killed seven agents.

The drone strikes have intensified in the region since then. As many as 45 people have been killed in eight strikes in the past two weeks. Last weekend, a Jordanian militant who served as a bodyguard for al-Qaeda's third in command is believed to have been killed in one of two strikes close to Mir Ali.

Mehsud, 29, has been spearheading the insurgency in the lawless tribal region. He was believed to have fled to North Waziristan after more than 30,000 Pakistani army troops launched its biggest offensive yet in South Waziristan which had become the main hub of Taleban and al Qaeda activities. The Pakistani military said the most of the area has now been cleared of the Taleban militants.

If confirmed, the death of Mehsud would come as a very serious blow to the Taleban, which has been responsible for most of the deaths of over 700 people in terrorist attacks inside Pakistan in the past year.

Last week the Taleban released a video showing Mehsud sitting with the Jordanian double agent who carried out the suicide bombing at the CIA base. The attack demonstrated the close links between Pakistani Taleban and al-Qaeda.

Pakistani security forces have been closing in on on Mehsud. Today's attack came after intelligence provided by Pakistan.

Pakistani leaders publicly criticise the drone strikes saying they infringe on the country’s sovereignty, but privately security officials acknowledge they have proved to be very effective. Several senior al-Qaeda operatives have been killed in drone strikes over the past year.

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