January 2, 2011

U.S. missile strikes kill at least 19 in Pakistan

The scope of the attacks suggests the military might have been targeting an insurgent commander.

Los Angeles Times

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A series of missile strikes killed at least 19 suspected insurgents Saturday in Pakistan's tribal borderlands, signaling that the new year would bring no respite in a relentless campaign of U.S. attacks employing unmanned aerial drones to target militants.

The strikes in the North Waziristan tribal area were apparently aimed at the Haqqani network, an offshoot of the Taliban movement and one of the deadliest foes of U.S. and other Western forces in Afghanistan. The group's fighters operate mainly in the eastern part of Afghanistan but seek shelter in neighboring Pakistan.

The multiple missile hits in the same area over a period of several hours, targeting two vehicles and a compound, suggested that intelligence might have indicated the presence of a high-level commander. The compound belonged to a man affiliated with a commander named Gul Bhadur, who is a senior associate of Siraj Haqqani, the network's chieftain.

Presumed U.S. drones staged nearly 120 missile strikes last year in Pakistan's tribal areas, which a variety of militant groups are known to use as a sanctuary. North Waziristan is the Haqqani group's home base.

With drone strikes steadily intensifying, this remote-control war has grown politically unpopular in Pakistan. However, its government is thought to be providing assistance, both active and tacit, in tracking militant figures to be targeted.

Saturday's strikes coincided with the year's first two reported deaths of Western troops in Afghanistan. The victims' nationalities were not disclosed.


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)