Drone attacks: Two strikes wipe out 11 militants

Published: October 27, 2011

Maulvi Nazir, one of Pakistan's most influential militant leaders, speaks during a news conference in Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan, in this file photo taken April 20, 2007. The CIA has been pounding an area of South Waziristan along the Afghan border controlled by Maulvi Nazir. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

PESHAWAR/MIRAMSHAH: Hours after an unmanned aircraft attack killed five militants, including the brother of a high-ranking Pakistani Taliban commander in Azam Warsak, a second US drone strike on Thursday killed another six militants in Hishokhel village, officials said.

The first attack occurred 20 kilometres west of Wana in South Waziristan, while the second was carried out some 30 kilometres east of Miramshah in North Waziristan.

Tribal sources told The Express Tribune that the first attack took place in Bermal tehsil of South Waziristan, when a US drone fired two missiles on a moving vehicle at around 10:00 am.

Militants belonging to the Mullah Nazir group were onboard the vehicle. Three of the five deceased were identified as Hazrat Umar, Khan Mohammad and Ashfaq, while the identities of the other two could not be ascertained.

“Nazir’s younger brother Omar Wazir has been killed, it has been confirmed,” a security official told AFP. Another intelligence official also confirmed his death.

Residents and security officials in the region described the 27-year-old as the operational head for the Nazir group, and a close aide of his brother.

Security officials said another close relative of Nazir’s was also among the dead. His exact relation was not immediately clear.

The second drone strike took place in the Mir Ali subdivision of North Waziristan at around 7:30 pm, when a US drone fired four missiles targeting a moving vehicle in Essakhel village. However, it was not immediately clear which militant group the six deceased belonged to.

Shift in CIA drone strategy?

The latest string of recent US drone strikes which has killed yet another high ranking militant, or High Value Target (HVT) as they are known in military jargon, raise questions over whether the CIA has changed its strategy in its covert Pakistan drone war.

In an exclusive to The Express Tribune, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has broken down a probable shift in US drone-policy since former US General David Petraeus took charge at the Central Intelligence Agency on September 6.

Since then, the Bureau has recorded ten CIA drone strikes, nine in Pakistan and one in Yemen. The revealing element of these strikes is that six of them have killed senior militants.

In the early years of the drone campaign under President George W. Bush, almost all attacks were against HVTs viewed as a strategic threat to US interests. But over the years those rules were relaxed, first by Bush and then by President Barack Obama. However, the trend now seems to be reverting back to targeting HVTs.

Thursday’s strike that reportedly killed the brother of key militant commander Maulvi Nazir, his deputy commander, is just the latest in a string of attacks where reports name senior militants.

However, Dr Micah Zenko, a drone expert with the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, urges caution: ‘There’s been no real indication so far that there’s been a shift in strategy,’ he told the Bureau. ‘With

almost 300 strikes one would expect statistical blips like this.’

At least 16 senior militants have been reported killed by the CIA since August.

The killing of Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces on May 2 was reported to have resulted in a ‘library’ of intelligence material. Three days after his death, US drone strikes resumed in Yemen after a nine-year break, when a Reaper tried to kill Anwar al Awlaki. Within a month, senior al Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri was killed by CIA drones in Pakistan. Senior US officials began talking up the prospect of delivering a knockout blow to al Qaeda in Pakistan and elsewhere.

When the Bureau published its full database of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan on August 10, it identified and named 128 militants killed in attacks since 2004. Since then, at least fifteen new names have been added to that list, most of them HVTs from al Qaeda, the Haqqani network and the Pakistan Taliban.  A further four named militants were killed by the CIA in Yemen on September 30, including US citizens Anwar al Awlaki and Samir Khan. The CIA declined to comment.

(Read: Dissent on drones)

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2011.

Related Videos

Reader Comments (36)

  • Mirza
    Oct 27, 2011 - 11:22AM

    No boots on Pakistani soil, as claimed by Pakistani generals. Americans do not care as long as they can get credible and actionable intelligence against the enemy. Once they had that info they can take care of the enemies themselves. The results of Mrs. Clinton’s visit are starting to come despite all the denials and huff and puff by the Pakistani generals. Way to go, US and Pakistani cooperations against their common enemies.

    Recommend

  • Ammad
    Oct 27, 2011 - 12:07PM

    Keep it up dear drones……we are counting on you….

    Recommend

  • Khalid Javed
    Oct 27, 2011 - 12:08PM

    Pray this drone attack will not bring a counter suicidal attack on coming Friday leading to the deaths of innocent people.

    Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Oct 27, 2011 - 12:40PM

    Probably this drones should target more on terrorist infrastructure rather then targeting militants on the run. Preferable to increase the intensity than the intervals.

    Recommend

  • Oct 27, 2011 - 12:40PM

    Vienna,27-10-2011
    If it is legal for Pakistan to send terrorists all over the
    world,the rest of the world retains reciprocal right at
    least to send drones against the protected terrorists.
    There is no one sided “illegality”.Ask legal luminaries.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Baalakrishna

    Recommend

  • Farooq Khan
    Oct 27, 2011 - 12:43PM

    Assets lost

    Recommend

  • Normal
    Oct 27, 2011 - 1:01PM

    Fanatics terrorists are incidentally treated as assets by the Pakistani. Hope US targets terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim as well.

    Recommend

  • j. von hettlingen
    Oct 27, 2011 - 3:35PM

    The Swiss media reported Mr. Saifullah Mehsud of the FATA Research in Islamabad who spoke two days ago on behalf of the TTP in the kidnapping affair involving two Swiss hostages. Mr. Mehsud delivered the demand of the TTP that $ 3 million should be paid and 100 prisoners be released by the Pakistani authorities in exchange for the couple David Och and Daniela Widmer. The TTP seemed to have renounced their intention to have Dr. Aafia Siddiqui released from a Texan jail as earlier anticipated. The TTP-Shura should let the two hostages go. They are ordinary people and the ransom would be a huge financial burden for them.

    Recommend

  • Khan
    Oct 27, 2011 - 3:52PM

    @Normal:
    Mullah Fazalullah from Swat valley has killed many more people than D.I .. and is hiding inside Afghanistan .. His father-in-Law took over 5000 people at the time of US attack to fight against them and left many of those misled youth while himself ran back to hide in Swat.
    He had put the lives of over 1 million people of Swat upside down and isn’t a target of any NATO action or drone then what makes you think they will target D.I when he has done nothing to the interest of the US.

    Recommend

  • Arjun
    Oct 27, 2011 - 4:49PM

    The dead commanders belonged to the Maulvi Nazir

    That would be members of what Pakistan calls the “Good Taliban”

    Recommend

  • Jadugar
    Oct 27, 2011 - 5:28PM

    The time has come to totally eliminate all Taliban ( the Good, the Bad and the Ugly) from Pakistan as well as Afghanistan soil, The Drones should now include targeting all those who supply, Shelter and arm these Killers. This should include all establishment, countries, elements involved in support of Taliban. Long Live The Drones.

    Recommend

  • SZ
    Oct 27, 2011 - 5:39PM

    why cant pakistan go against them. Why do americans have to kill them on pakistan’s territory.

    Recommend

  • Bingo
    Oct 27, 2011 - 5:52PM

    Who give them target coordinates? Human Intelligence with out the Pakistani military assistance is impossible to do that

    Recommend

  • salman
    Oct 27, 2011 - 6:31PM

    i am a supporter of these drones, are you?

    Recommend

  • fahim
    Oct 27, 2011 - 6:46PM

    90% of all key leaders are reported to have been captured or eliminated here…. and we keep fooling ourselves and blaming everyone under sun. We are the laughing stock of the world today.

    Recommend

  • Usman Khalid
    Oct 27, 2011 - 6:48PM

    @Kulamarva Balakrishna:
    Stockholm, 27-11-2011
    who care what you think. Its us who are paying this price and you are enjoying blood running through streets of pakistan and bloodshed being done by indian backed and supported talibans…. indian supported terrorists in Pakistan, Srilanka and brutality of indian army in Kashmir. Long Live Pakistan.
    IMPACT OF WoT on PAKISTAN RESEARCH CENTER.
    USMAN KHALID

    Recommend

  • u_too
    Oct 27, 2011 - 7:13PM

    Pakistan: No more drone attacks! >-<
    USa: Just one more ;p

    Recommend

  • Oct 27, 2011 - 7:28PM

    Taliban are facing defeat at the hands of the US and NATO forces and that explains why we are witnessing these desperate attempts to regain ground. They have long lost their grip on power, and an aggressive offensive from our forces has sent them running for cover, while the coalition takes control of most of Afghanistan. They regularly disguise themselves among civilians and attack from their hiding places. Their cowardly ways are apparent and their days of ruling with an iron fist are long gone. The nation once suppressed under their dictatorship has long begun its recovery and continues to move forward with the help of the US and NATO forces. ANSF (Afghan Nation Security Forces) is in the process of assuming the security responsibilities and the Taliban are desperately attempting to undermine our efforts. To suggest that the US might be behind these attacks is not only absurd but simply defies logic! Despite these attempts to halt our progress, our forces are moving ahead with the transition process and will continue to assist the ANSF until they are fully capable of independently protecting the nation.

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Oct 27, 2011 - 7:30PM

    Tired of the drone attacks – quit allowing militant/terrorist to use Pakistan soil as safe haven to attack your neighbors and allies.

    Recommend

  • Adil
    Oct 27, 2011 - 7:34PM

    Its a RAW CIA MOSSAD conspiracy ti humiliate Pakistan. Ya Allah Khair

    Recommend

  • Mumtaz Rizvi
    Oct 27, 2011 - 8:02PM

    Well Done Drones, keep up the good work. we might need you in karachi as well. keep killing these savage beasts who dont give a damn to human values. Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Oct 27, 2011 - 8:08PM

    @Adil:
    Please don’t blame anyone but Pakistani Govt. for their failure to clamp down on these terrorist.

    They have killed more Muslims and specifically Pakistanis then anyone else. They signed on their own death warrant when they affiliated themselves with Taliban, Al-Queda, Laskur, Haqquani or any such group.

    Praise goes to CIA for taking aim at them and finishing off something that Pakistani Govt. is responsible for.

    Recommend

  • Oct 27, 2011 - 8:15PM

    Vienna,27-10-2011
    Cool it Usmanbhai, a bridge is meant to be a bridge
    to cross both directions. I do not say Pakistan
    should be bombed. It is in nobody´s interest that
    common people in Pakistan suffer for no fault of
    theirs.We always had friendly visitors from Pakistan
    in Bombay who spoke Gujarati especially. Even
    my friend Jameel Ul Rehman Siddiqui from Hyderbad
    had migrated to Pakistan but returned to be a colleague
    in Bombay´s The Economic Times.We shared meals
    together in Hindu or Muslim restuarants, apart from
    canteens of ours. Dileep Kumar, the star is Yousef
    Khan. His sister Farida was a dear friend inviting
    me and colleague and friend Mohammad shamim
    all the time.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

    Recommend

  • Pasha
    Oct 27, 2011 - 9:05PM

    General Kiani’s response to Hill Clinton’s recent trip!

    She asked this sort of help from General Kiani and she get results pretty quickly!

    Recommend

  • Salman
    Oct 27, 2011 - 9:26PM

    This Maulvi Nazir Ahmed has proven to be very deadly for Pakistani forces. Along with Baitullah, his fighters were one of the most dangerous group in S. Waziristan. Pakistani forces is hunting him for the last 4-5 yrs and during S Waziristan he narrowly missed PAF bombardment infact there were reports circulating of his death for few weeks that time. Good that some of his comrades has been taken off through this drone deal between US and Pak.

    Recommend

  • Nina Akbar
    Oct 28, 2011 - 7:28AM

    If we Pakistanis refuse to clean the mess in our back yard, we let some one else do it.
    What those people who are killed by the drones don’t know they think that their location is fed to the drones by a source and who works for that source, take a guess,
    The dollar always wins, and the drones are winning !!!

    Recommend

  • Sad but true
    Oct 28, 2011 - 8:13AM

    @Adil: Sorry, it is an aliens’s conspiracy (PAK version).

    Recommend

  • Char Latan
    Oct 28, 2011 - 8:18AM

    On a scale of 1 to 10, were these the good or bad terrorists. 1 being the saintly martyr terrorists and 10 being the evil, demonic ones. Could you please clarify?

    Recommend

  • Arindom
    Oct 28, 2011 - 8:20AM

    Good Shot!!

    Recommend

  • Hairaan
    Oct 28, 2011 - 9:03AM

    Is it appropriate for the governments to eliminate suspected militants without following proper legal course? If yes then why do we all object when people like Qadri do so? The judge remarked in the Qadri case that nobody can be given license to kill.

    Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 28, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Oh No, Again most innocent Talibans have been targeted. We must lodge our protest in UN for killing these Holy Men of our system.Recommend

  • Ram
    Oct 28, 2011 - 11:15AM

    Surprising to read that so many Pakitanis are welcoming drone attacks. I am sure Americans will destroy safe havens / strategic assets that will go a long way in helping the world including Pakistan where innocent civilians are killed by terrorists at the drop of a hat. Keep it up

    Recommend

  • Ghaznavi
    Oct 28, 2011 - 3:32PM

    There is no way to independently ascertain if those killed were militants or civilians; US drone strategy has been counter productive; its time for Yankees to go home and leave this region.

    Recommend

  • Oct 28, 2011 - 9:57PM

    US should leave Pak and Afghanistan so that we kill ourselves. Once US leave us, these holy warriors occupy both the countries and start ruling. No music, no cinema, no TV/Radio, no barber shops, no fashion shows, no jeans, no elections. Every beautiful girl should compulsorily marry a taliban. Every male should have a beard, atleast artificial if it does not grow. Of course, everybody can sleep entire daytime and eat entire night during the holy month of Ramadan.Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Oct 28, 2011 - 10:00PM

    @Ghaznavi:
    We should not leave until we clean up the mess that Pakistan has created and is destabilizing the entire region.Recommend

  • Riaz
    Oct 28, 2011 - 11:49PM

    very few people on thos blog are aware that evey moving vehicle is hit by the drones always present in the air, comments here are the fantacies and desires of people of different thoughts.

    Recommend

More in KP & FATA