The US launched its first drone strike in Pakistan in more than a month, killing at least six jihadists, including “foreigners,” in an area along the Afghan-Pakistan border that is known to host a variety of terrorist groups.
Today, the CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or Reapers fired two missiles at a compound in the village of Wara Mandi in the Shawal Valley in North Waziristan, killing six “militants,” Dawn reported.
The identities of those killed were not disclosed. Most of those killed are said to be “foreigners,” a term used to describe foreign fighters from Arab countries or from regional groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan or the Turkistan Islamic Party.
Some Pakistani officials said that five “Uzbeks” were killed in the strike, but others described the jihadists as “Punjabi Taliban and Arabs.” The Punjabi Taliban is comprised of jihadist from groups based in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The Punjabi Taliban, whose leader, Asmatullah Muawiya, also serves as an al Qaeda commander, has been agreeable to conducting peace talks with the Pakistani government.
Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other jihadist organizations have not announced the deaths of any senior leaders, commanders, or operatives.
The Shawal Valley, which is administered by Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar and spans both North and South Waziristan, is a known haven for al Qaeda and other terror groups operating in the region. A number of Taliban, Pakistani, and foreign terrorist groups gather in the Shawal Valley and then enter Afghanistan to fight US, NATO, and Afghan government forces.