Sep 08 2008

US Targets Core Of Islamic Extremists In Pakistan’s Tribal Regions

For the past year Pakistan forces have been pushing northward towards their border with Afghanistan executing their version of The Surge – to clear and control regions once infiltrated or controlled by Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies. This has brought fighting into the Swat Valley region of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) where Islamist activities have been trying to take over the region around Peshawar.

The fighting has also been heavy in Bajaur Agency inside the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) the other large region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The bulk of the Taliban forces and al-Qaeda hiders (hard to call them fighters) are thought to be in FATA. Bajaur has been the focus of Pak military efforts, while Kurram Agency and Khyber Agency have seen local tribes fighting off the Taliban forces.

The center of Taliban and al-Qaeda strength has been in the North and South Waziristan Agencies of FATA. This is where most of the US Predator strikes have been occurring. And today we saw even more strikes in this area as the US allies North and South of the Afghan border appear to be ready to aim at the heart of the Islamist movement:

Missiles fired by U.S. drones killed 16 people, including Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters, on Monday in a strike targeting a religious school founded by an old friend of Osama bin Laden, intelligence officials and Pakistani villagers said.

“There were two drones and they fired three missiles,” said a resident of Dandi Darpakheil, a village in the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.

A military official said a house and madrasa founded by Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani were the targets.

Haqqani is a veteran commander of the U.S.-backed Afghan war against the Soviet invasion in the 1970s and 1980s, and his links with bin Laden go back to the late 1980s.

He is said to be in ill-health and his son, Sirajuddin, has been leading the Haqqani group.

More here:

At least 20 people were killed and 25 others injured Monday after several missiles fired by unmanned U.S. Predator drones hit a religious school and the house of a powerful Taliban commander in northwest Pakistan, near the border of Afghanistan, according to witnesses and a Pakistani security official.

I think the message is clear now – we are coming for you and there is no escape.

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