U.S. Predator strikes cripple al Qaeda in Pakistan?

February 6, 2009

America’s ramped-up Predator drone campaign against al Qaeda in Pakistan’s northwest is starting to pay off, according to U.S. and Pakistani intelligence authorities quoted in a clutch of media reports.

Eleven of the group’s top 20 “high value targets” along the Afghan border have been eliminated in the past six months  Newsweek magazine reports, citing Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The strikes by the unmanned drones circling high above Pakistan’s rugged tribal areas have been so pin-pointed that in one case a missile fired at a hideout in North Waziristan didn’t just hit the right house, but the room in which Mustafa al-Misri (“Mustafa the Egyptian”) and several other Qaeda operatives were holed up. the magazine reports, quoting a Taliban sub-commander.

A U.S. counter-terrorism official goes so far as to suggest that the CIA-directed strikes have been so successful that it was possible to foresee a “complete al Qaeda defeat” in the mountainous region , according to this report in America’s National Public Radio.

Is that stretching the gains,  a bit too triumphalist a picture?

Al Qaeda’s leadership cadre had been “decimated” with up to a dozen senior and mid-level operatives killed as a  result of the strikes and the remaining leaders reeling from the attacks, U.S. officials say in the NPR report, adding achievements of the past several months should not be under-stated.

“In the past, you could take out the No. 3 al-Qaeda leader, and No. 4 just moved up to take his place,”  NPR quoted a U.S. official as saying. “Well, if you take out No. 3, No. 4 and then 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, it suddenly becomes a lot more difficult to revive the leadership cadre.”

What has changed ?
One, according to Newsweek, greater assistance from Pakistani intelligence agencies who have finally started helping the Americans track and kill members of al Qaeda in the lawless frontier belt.

Two, there has been some kind of purge in the ISI, with 140 pro-Islamist officers mustered out of the agency since September, it quotes a diplomatic official in Washington as saying.

Another reason, according to NPR, is the introduction of the Reaper  hunter drone,  an enhanced verion of the Predator that can carry two Hellfire missiles, as well precision-guided missiles.

Time to declare victory ?  Far from it. Indeed these reports come just when U.S. supply lines to Afghanistan through Pakistan have again been hit again with the bombing of a bridge in the Khyber pass, and  Pakistani forces are struggling to regain control of the Swat valley from Taliban militants after a year of fighting. Why, even Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province remains to some, a city essentially under siege.

That doesn’t suggest a waning of militant forces in the region.

Perhaps the best conclusion you can draw is that the Predator strikes have had an impact on al Qaeda’s ability to strike at the United States, but the group is by no means decimated.

Bill Roggio, writing in The Weekly Standard Blog, says Taliban and al Qaeda control in Pakistan and Afghanistan has actually expanded since the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate which concluded that al Qaeda had  regenerated its network in northwest Pakistan and maintained a safe haven there. Here is a PDF of the declassified NIE.

“Despite Pakistani claims to the contrary, the Pakistani Army is losing ground in the northwest while NATO is still searching for the right strategy in Afghanistan, where the Taliban legitimately claim much of the rural regions are under their control,” Roggio says warning against making overly optimistic claims.

[File pictures of a Predator drone and a protest in Peshawar]

Comments

We dont HATE anyone but we do HATE the peopel that have bad things to say about our country wiithout any substance. I think personlay the opnly mini mi superpower india is full of liars I think they have top up degree in making things up and perfect prove is on theses blogs.

If Inida was so great??????

1) Why do we have Human Rights groups accusing India of mass murder in Kashmir valley and they are still finding the graves of locals innocent Kashmiris who were mudered in cold blood in staged killing.

2) Why is it everytime there is bomb blast the only people who get arrested are local indian muslims and harassed and put in cells.

3) India conducted elections in Kashmir but by putting every sepratist leader in behind bars that is a great advert of indian democracy.

4) Why do we have peacefull demonstaration the biggest ever in Srinager asking the indian dogs to leave our beautiful valley and the chants of AZADI – FREEDOM. Which wqas heared by all news media All round the world except the ears few idiots that do not want to belive anything that is truth because it hurts.

5) What happened to the cold blooded Hindu terrorist murderers who killed inncoent Pakistanis on the Samjuta trains? and the only think these inncoent civilians were armed with was love n affcetion and went ot see their next of kin…This speaks great of indian democracy where murderers killers as long as they are hindus can walk free on the streets of delhi n mumbai.

6) Whhat about the burning of the churches, mosques, killing of christians n muslims. Why is it that the minorites lack in education, infrasturcture compare to other fanatic hindus.

7) You indian leaders are the biggest murders who ordered the killings of Muslims in Gujrat while youur incomotent police and army watched by as mere spectators. Even to this day no one has been charged and I know what the idots will say investigateion is still on? The leaders of biggest terrorist organisation still have their power seats.

8) What hapened to tratement of the Dalits they are your hindu brothers if they can be treating like “untouchables”. What hope does anyone else have in this so called great democracy? Not much!

9) The capital of HIV disease thats what India is.

10) All you IDIOTS you can only TALK No substance!!!

Rajeeve yu say we lot ca NOT live without blaming anybody….I am sorry mate BUT it is the idnians who blamed Pakistan within 12hrs of the attcks. It is India that tries to frame Pakistan anything happens inside India. Lets assume Paksitan is behind it where are your cowrdless Inteligence, army, security services if they are that incompotent. Personaly I think you have NO rights to be a independent country at ALL!!!

Posted by ali | Report as abusive
 

If India was so great country to live in, where all the minorites have their rights respected.

Then WHY do we have over 50 Sepratist Movements in India?

Which even you mini mi Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has admittted that biggest threat to india is the Sepratist movements!!!

Posted by Hussain | Report as abusive
 

Rajeeve do yu realy think I have time to read your garbage which you picked from slums of Mumbai. Not realy you got roasted mate and your mother and took you all night to think what shall I reply.

I just love it when idiots start runing around like headless chickens. At least we admit we have probs you indians are so blind to the facts and truth that do not even have the courage to admit to your wrong doings and we all know India is NOT to saint.

Which has used every opportunity to paint a bad picture of Pakistan. Because dogs bark thats what indians do and NO ACTION….where are the surgical strikes your hallow threats have gone up your mums pudddaaaaa!!!!

I dont see no indian flies crossing the International border to strike at the so called camps.

You indians are so incompotent you can talk big but you have very small hearts that can NOT even stand a blow from the Pakis.

Posted by ALI | Report as abusive
 

Ali:
“What hapened to tratement of the Dalits they are your hindu brothers if they can be treating like “untouchables”. ”

Using of the word “untouchable” and practicing caste system is against law in indian constitution. These dalits enjoy more than 33% reservation in govt jobs. and in unis/educational institutions. There are Dalit leaders which are chief ministers of some states. Dalit leader Mayawati is dreaming of becoming PM.

FYI Muslims are also trying to get in scheduled caste reservation system (Trying to be dalit for reservation:-) ) and may be one day they will get it too.

You have absolutely no idea what and where india stands today. Keep you venom for some other day

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

It is another thing having a law and implementing a law.. the law also gives indian muslims all the rights but are they ever implemented –NO

I mean look at Gujrat that was hindu terrorist gift to the muslims for being pro-indian first then muslims.

Go and tell your rubish stories to someone else.. and if as you paint that dalits get this an that why is respectable organisation like BBC always have various articles of the treatments of the untouchables never mind the other monorites which have no rights in your country.

Ever wondered why there are reports of Churches burnt, Mosques burnt people are forced to convert to hinduism lol.

Mate carry on defending because only person who defends if they know they are in the wrong. Anyway its agianst your idiotic mentality NOT to accept reality. Reality hurts just because you have managed to get a job in calll center and little two foot apartment in mumbai does not mean half of indian children are malnourished and cany even feed half of the country sop grow up.

We might be poor and living of aid but at least every paki is fed properly. I have seen your elite comandeos single pasli then what hope does a untouchable or a poor indian has fcuk all mate….

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive
 

“Dalit leader Mayawati is dreaming of becoming PM.”

Still dreaming yet, as every other indian hey….lol

Listen mate what you are dreaming now we have already had the first women prime minter even before the USA and many countries who promote equal right for womens but NOT willing to have them head of states. Mrs Bhutto is a legend, NOT only she achieved what many womens in the west dream of even in USA and we have proved Pakistanis are open minded other wise how to you expect a women to be elected prime miniter in mans world (pakistan).

In the history of Pakistan we have NEVER elected a mullah to lead us and thats a FACT. Which is living prove that Pakistanis are open minded and NOT what the idiots think who have NEVER been to Pakistan but been spoon fed by your biased STARNEWS which is worser then a cartoon movie.

But I have to admit lets be honest they employ the MOST ugliest people on the planet even though you have so much talented indian ladies. What a shame!!!

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive
 

Ali:
“Listen mate what you are dreaming now we have already had the first women prime minter even before the USA”

Haha you forget INDIRA GANDHI, did I remind you Bangladesh ?? SORRY MATE.

I won’t call you an Idiot, coz idiot still have a brain which can be made of some use.

BUT YOU ARE HOPELESS.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Ali

—But you already are a PM – Permanent Mardarcho*

Posted by Anu | Report as abusive
 

“Rajeeve do yu realy think I have time to read your garbage which you picked from slums of Mumbai:
—posted by Ali
—————-Hmm…you have no choice but read all messages bec. Mushy pays you. He’ll fire you or dump you. BTW I did not address the story to you Ali -could have been any Ali .. Haha…..got you. Are you sore after reading my message or bec. of Mushy’s fauji action..

“I dont see no indian flies crossing the International border to strike at the so called camps.”
—————-Don’t be impatient. India India decided against; bec. your dear friends Taliban is doing you from behind and is all over the area and thinking about Peshawar and Islamabad. So no need. What great Army you got. Drop your head in shame and do suicide–by your criterion….lol. I am seriously sorry for the girls for lack of education (no joke here read my earlier posts).

“mean look at Gujrat that was hindu terrorist gift to the muslims for being pro-indian first then muslims.”
— do not poke you Muslim brotherhood nose–the root cause of many problems-into India. Before you ask tell use something about Pakistan Hindus In your ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN. .

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 
 

@rajeev

Famous Pakistani Hindus include:

1. Rana Bhagwandas (ex-Chief Justice of Pakistan)
2. Danish Kaneria (Test cricketer)
3. Anil Dalpat (former Test cricketer)
4. Deepak Perwani (fashion designer)

Pakistani Hindus even rallied to support Jamaat ud Dawa, as you can see from this YouTube video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwinLXQ2m 2c&feature=related

Posted by Qasim | Report as abusive
 

Qasim
“Pakistani Hindus even rallied to support Jamaat ud Dawa,”

— Only a Pakistani can take perverted pride in such forced demonstrations by hapless citizens…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Anup wrote:
“— Only a Pakistani can take perverted pride in such forced demonstrations by hapless citizens…”

Amazing! Anup, your obsession with Pakistan is amazing. Do discuss and share your ideas with your colleagues, family and friends. After all Pakistan is a very important country isnt it? I see the time you devote to Pakistan on reuters bolgs. Keep up buddy. 11 PM in Islamabad, i need to go to bed. Good night! Dont forget to say “PAKISTAN ZINDABAD” in your dreams.
Long Live Pakistan!

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair
“After all Pakistan is a very important country isnt it?”
—No. A nuisance, Yes. I’m decimating it…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Anup wrote:
“Yes. I’m decimating it…”

Anup, next you will say I am going to run for US Presidency in 2012. Get some mental help you psychopath before its too late. I wonder every time someone tries to decimate Pakistan, and Pakistan strikes back with even greater force. Had been easy, Pakistan wouldnt have been standing today as a nuclear power. Go decimate your dog house in your backyard. Remain at your level, dont try to stoop above that.

And yes, once you are done with decimating Pakistan, let me know. I will soon leave you my email address.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Fanatics. I think we are justified to use drones against such people.

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/i dUSTRE5171CC20090208

Posted by Jerry | Report as abusive
 

Press Releases 2009 US EMBASSY ISLAMABAD DIPLOMATIC ENCLAVE RAMNA 5 ISLAMABAD PAKISTAN

http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pr-090209 01.html

U.S. Special Representative Ambassador Richard Holbrooke Arrives In Pakistan

February 9, 2009

Islamabad – U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, arrived in Islamabad today for scheduled meetings with senior Pakistani government officials and representatives from the private sector and civil society.

“I am delighted to be visiting Pakistan again and welcome this opportunity to meet with a variety of Pakistani leaders on a wide range of issues. As President Obama’s and Secretary of State Clinton’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, I am here to listen and learn the ground realities of this critically important country,” Holbrooke said. “The United States looks forward to reviewing our policies and renewing our commitment and friendship with the people of Pakistan.”

Ambassador Holbrooke will meet with elected officials, senior military leaders, and representatives of the private sector and civil society for consultations on a variety of bilateral and regional issues.

“I look forward to my continued consultations with leaders in Pakistan and in the region and will be reporting my findings and conclusions to President Obama and to Secretary of State Clinton upon my return to the United States,” he added.

This is Ambassador Holbrooke’s first visit to Pakistan in his new role as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Jerry, ..it is justifiable only when you use B-22, F-16, 18, 22, 35 etc.
A mere drone hellfires are not justifiable but a shame to world’s super power.

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive
 

Several questions are generated by the status quo in Pakistan, chiefly:

Why the Taliban and al Qaeda have been given almost uncontested freedom to train, re-group and re-arm in the FATA;

Why the influences of radical Islam have been allowed to actually grow among Pakistan’s populace;

Is the Pakistani government actually aligned with the United States or are they manipulating the realities of the conflict with radical Islamist aggression to their financial benefit.

As radical Islam prospers not only in the FATA but in Pakistan proper, and as the
Pakistani ISI maintains its working relationships with Jihadi organizations the likes of the Taliban and al Qaeda, the continued declaration by Pakistanis their nation remains allied with the United States and the remaining Coalition of the Willing nations must be questioned in the most serious of ways.

With no progress being made by the Pakistani government in the fight against radical Islamist ideology and jihad, but for the occasional arrest of mid-level terrorists, the Obama Administration must give credence to the reality that the government of Pakistan is a disingenuous partner in the conflict against radical Islamist aggression. To continue funding their alleged efforts in the conflict against radical Islamist aggression is to throw good money after bad. In this economic climate the United States can ill-afford to fund jihadi enablers.

 

Umair
“Go decimate your dog house in your backyard.”

—That’s exactly what i’m doin..the mad doghouse in our backyard IS Pakistan,

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

@Umair,

Umair, Pakistan is like a street beggar with its food bowl out. Listen to this analogy: After he gets handed out food in its food bowl, he puts on some nice clothes in the evening, which someone left besides its food-bowl, cleans-up, shaves and tries to mix and shake with the normal everyday people.

Nighttime comes and it is time to return to go and sleep in the box. He takes off the free clothes and food bowl is empty. While he is dressed up, he acts cocky, lies about how smart and successful he is. But he has problems, he has rotten gums, stomach diseases, lies, steals from others to survive, kills other bums, cheats from others and at night when he tries to socialize, he always tries to convince people that he is from the middle class or uppper class, with his stolen clothes he is wearing. But what gives him away is his perpetually rotten stinking breath and the flies coming out of his mouth, I mean maggots. He never changes his underwear and when he comes home to sleep at night, he blames others for his problems. Despite his problems, he publically professes how great his life his and refuses to be honest with himself and the people he bumps into at night, when he goes out to mingle with normal people.

The normal people think,” oh my god, here he comes again”. His limp walk and stench always give him away, no matter what lies, stories, conspiracy stories he tells, his lies and bullsxxt cannot be hidden. Yet he gets angry if anyone questions him because he cannot handle shame and embarassment. He threatens people with violence, if they question him or poke fun at him.

This bum, is constantly drunk with self-delusion about how good he is, yet bitter at other normal people, and wants what they have for free, without working for it. He believes he is entitled to have anything he wants for free. He wakes up everyday hating others but never gives himself the chance to look into the mirror.

He can’t stand looking at his own face, therefore directs all his self anger at others.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

These alqaeda or Taliban cadres have caused enormous damage to Pakistan, so if they get eliminated in drone strikes then good riddance.

 

Now:
February 10, 2009
Al-Qaeda warns India of new attacks
A top Al-Qaeda commander thought to have died last year has released a video warning India of future terror attacks similar to those in Mumbai, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian Al-Qaeda leader based in Afghanistan, also called on the people of Pakistan to overthrow their president and government, it said.

Yazid was thought to have died in the Bajaur tribal region of Afghanistan in August when Pakistani helicopter gunships carried out an offensive in the area, a haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

“India should know that it will have to pay a heavy price if it attacks Pakistan,” he said in the video.

Then:
12 Aug 2008
Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid aka “Sa’id” Al Qaeda Leader Dead.

Pakistan has announced the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” al-Masri in the Bajaur region as a result of their ongoing offensive there. (The Reuters story specifies an “Unamed Official, but that’s normally how these reports come from Pakistan.)

Where the hell did he come alive? lol

Posted by Blogger | Report as abusive
 

“”"Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid aka “Sa’id” Al Qaeda Leader Dead.
Pakistan has announced the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” al-Masri in the Bajaur region as a result of their ongoing offensive there. (The Reuters story specifies an “Unamed Official, but that’s normally how these reports come from Pakistan.)
Where the hell did he come alive? lol”"”

—To claim another 70 something virgins…..

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

The US should teach its best friend moral stories.

 

Where the hell did he come alive? lol”””
—To claim another 70 something virgins…..

Probably his cruel deeds could only get him a hell instead of heaven. So he is send back to Pakistan.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

After reading all the postings i have come to a solemn conclusion pakistani populace is mentally retarted and incapable of accepting reality. SO guys my two cents “Laat ke bhoot baat se nahi maante” and that i guess is becoming increasingly inevitable

Posted by Prithviraj | Report as abusive
 

Reddy,
The US should teach its best friend moral stories.
- Drones.

Posted by Blogger | Report as abusive
 

The drones are a very safe way of killing Alqaeda ppl. But what about the innocents who die in those attacks too?? The deaths of innocents stirs up support for alqaeda too which results in counter productive actions. So drone attacks should occur only when civilian casualities r not expected.

Posted by Muhammad Rizwan Malik | Report as abusive
 

Al Qaeda is a worthwhile target. It must be eliminated.
However as these attacks are on Pakistan territory, as a good ally U>S. needs to give full info to Pakistan’s ISI and then withy their permission conduct these attacks. ISI should not give permission if it thinks that innocents would be killed.

However as Al Qaeda is sheltring in Pashtoon areas where their supporters house them….not each individual civilan, woman or child around them is a real terrorist and their presence there is simply b/c their family heads (males) have given permission to Al Qaeda…..a Drone attack would kill these innocent too……..therefore a much humane strategy would be to use ground spies and then elite commandoes (Pakistanis preferably) who go in discguidec properly and target kill al qaeda fugitives thus avoiding loss of innocent lives.

I would suggest Muslim armies (commandos) from Jordan, saudia Arabia, Yemen and egypt should also be brought in to attack and tsarget kill these terrorist. These countroes have a responsibility towards their citizens…who are terrorists and thus their security forces should be asked to financially and logistically and man power wise contribute in this war against Al qaeda…Why just US, NATO and Pakistan.

Posted by Akram Khan | Report as abusive
 

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