Apr 01 2009
Update: More details can be found here:
Missiles believed to have been fired from a US drone struck a remote compound linked to Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud today – the day after he threatened to attack Washington and took responsibility for the assault on a police training camp in Pakistan.
Neither Mr Mehsud or one of his senior lieutenants said to use the compound were present, but up to 12 people were killed and several others wounded.
Reports said that up to 30 people, described as suspected militants, were at the compound in Pakistan’s Orakzai tribal region close to the Afghan border when the two missiles tore into the property. Soon afterwards, the bodies of the dead and wounded were moved from the location. Liaquat Ali, a local government official, confirmed the attack but was unable to provide further details.
The strike came a day after Mr Mehsud claimed responsibility for the assault on a police cadet training centre on the outskirts of Lahore that left at least eight people dead and more than 100 injured. Three militants were killed while at least one suspected member of the group was captured alive.
The US air campaign continues to expand beyond the traditional hunting grounds of the Taliban-controlled tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan and Bajaur. The US conducted its first Predator strike in the Arakzai tribal agency today.
The attack took place in the town of Khadzai, a region ran by Hakeemullah Mehsud, a senior lieutenant to Pakistani Taliban chieftain Baitullah Mehsud. A Predator launched at least one missile at one of Hakeemullah’s compounds.
Twelve Taliban fighters have been reported killed and twelve more were wounded,Â Geo NewsÂ reported. It is not known if any senior Taliban or al Qaeda leaders have been killed. Hakeemullah is not believed to have been killed in the attack.
- end update
In the last day a al Qaeda/Taliban leader in the tribal areas of Pakistan announced a pending attack on Washington DC that would surprise the world:
The reclusive commander of the Pakistani Taliban said Tuesday that his fighters had carried out Mondayâ€™s bold assault on a police academy in eastern Pakistan and boasted that he was planning a terrorist attack in Washington that would astonish the world.
â€œSoon we will launch an attack on Washington that will amaze everyone in the world,â€ Mehsud told the Associated Press.
Today Baitullah Mehsud got a response from America:
A missile fired by a suspected US drone has killed at least 10 people in Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, eyewitnesses say.
The missile hit a house in Orakzai tribal area. Residents and local journalists said the house had been converted into a Taleban camp.
Officials said the targets were Taleban and al-Qaeda members who have found safe havens in tribal areas near the Afghan border.
Residents in the area say that the missile struck a house being used by the Taleban which was completely destroyed.
I would suspect this is just an opening salvo given the threat made. Stay tuned.