U.S. Attack On Taliban Kills 23 In Pakistan

U.S. Attack On Taliban Kills 23 In Pakistan
September 9th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. Attack On Taliban Kills 23 In Pakistan

U.S. Attack On Taliban Kills 23 In Pakistan
New York Times
September 9, 2008
Pg. 10

By Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Five missiles fired from an American pilotless aircraft on Monday hit a large compound in North Waziristan belonging to one of Pakistan’s most prominent Taliban leaders, two Pakistani intelligence officials and a local resident said.
The missile attack, about 10:20 a.m., killed 23 people, including 8 children, and wounded at least 18, according to accounts of the intelligence officials. The strike hit the compound run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, whom the United States has accused of organizing some of the most serious recent attacks in Afghanistan against American and NATO forces and of masterminding a failed assassination attempt against the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.
It appeared that neither man was present at the compound during the attack. Among those killed were one of Jalaluddin Haqqani’s two wives, his sister, sister-in-law and eight of his grandchildren, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
According to American officials, the two Haqqanis protect forces from Al Qaeda in their enclaves in North and South Waziristan, provide logistics and intelligence for Qaeda operatives, and act as a bridge between the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, who share the common mission of driving American and NATO troops from Afghanistan.
Lou Fintor, a spokesman at the United States Embassy in Islamabad, said the embassy had no comment on the strike.
The attack was carried out less than a week after the first publicly acknowledged ground operation by American Special Operations forces against Taliban operating inside Pakistan. The commandos struck at militants in a village in South Waziristan on Wednesday at the start of what American commanders said was likely to be a more sustained campaign against the Taliban operating in Pakistan’s tribal region.
The attack on Monday was the third American missile strike on Taliban targets in North and South Waziristan since the ground attack on Wednesday.
The compound belonging to Sirajuddin Haqqani was used chiefly as a guest house for militants arriving in North Waziristan who wanted to join the jihad forces of the Haqqani family, said residents of Miran Shah, North Waziristan’s capital.
An increasing number of Turks, Chechens and Uzbeks have been arriving in North Waziristan in the last several months, according to Pakistani military officials.
The attack on Monday might have been aimed at deterring this influx of foreign fighters who are considered the toughest and most resilient of the Taliban forces. Among those killed in the strike were at least three low-level Qaeda operatives, including an Arab and an Azerbaijani, Pakistan intelligence officials said.
The Haqqani compound in Daande Darpkhel, a few miles from Miran Shah, had been used as a madrasa for up to 1,000 students but was closed as a school several years ago under pressure from Pakistani authorities, officials familiar with the Haqqani operations said.
Officials said the family ran a number of training camps and facilities in North Waziristan and had plenty of places to hide.
Given that Haqqani family members arrived at the compound just half an hour before the strike, it seemed that the Americans were relying on fresh intelligence. Because it was well known that Haqqani family members also lived in the compound, the strike could have a psychological effect, as well as a practical impact.
Pakistani television channels reported that Badruddin Haqqani, a younger brother of Sirajuddin, had said that his brother and father were “alive and well” in Afghanistan.
Asif Ali Zardari, who is to be inaugurated as Pakistan’s president on Tuesday, has declared that he will pursue the fight against the Taliban more vigorously. He is seen in Pakistan as pro-American and has been welcomed by the Bush administration for his support of the campaign against terrorism.
Two years ago, Jalaluddin Haqqani, now in his 60s and said to be in failing health, was called a “Pakistani asset” by a senior official of the Inter-Services Intelligence, the nation’s powerful spy agency, as a way of explaining why the Pakistani Army did not move against him.
American officials say the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July was probably carried out by members of a network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani in a plot conducted with the backing of some elements of the intelligence agency.
One of the Bush administration’s biggest complaints about the Pakistani government has been its reluctance to sever its ties with Taliban militants like the Haqqanis. Pakistan has continued to regard the Taliban as a valuable force for protecting Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan in the event of an American withdrawal.
In the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani was cultivated as a “unilateral” asset of the C.I.A. and received tens of thousands of dollars in cash for his work in fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, according to an account in “The Bin Ladens,” a recent book by Steve Coll. At that time, Mr. Haqqani helped and protected Osama bin Laden, who was building his own militia to fight the Soviet forces, Mr. Coll wrote.
Ismail Khan contributed reporting from Peshawar, Pakistan, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

Similar Topics
Pakistan Denies Role In Attack
Pentagon Puts Brakes On Funds To Pakistan
NATO Confronts Surprisingly Fierce Taliban
Unilateral Strike Called A Model For U.S. Operations In Pakistan
Bomb Attack Kills Scores In Pakistan As Bhutto Arrives