What courageous fighters these Taliban are huh?
Gunbattles and airstrikes by NATO and Afghan troops killed 53 militants in Afghanistan, including a wanted Taliban commander who tried to hide from soldiers under a woman’s burqa, officials said Saturday.
The U.S. forces targeting the commander surrounded a house Friday in Ghazni province and ordered everyone inside to leave, a military statement said.
Six women and 12 children left the building, but while soldiers were questioning the women they discovered one was actually a man dressed in a burqa, the traditional all-encompassing dress that most Afghan women wear. The man, later identified as the targeted commander Haji Yakub, tried to attack the soldiers and was killed, the military said.
Yakub allegedly directed roadside bomb and suicide attacksagainst Afghanistan’s government and coalition forces in Ghazni, according to the statement. Three other militants were killed in the operation, it said.
Meanwhile, Afghan and coalition forces killed 33 militants when their patrol came under attack in southern Helmand province Friday, a military statement said. The troops responded to the attack with gunfire and air support,it said.
In Kandahar province, meanwhile, a three-day NATO-Afghan operation in Zhari district killed 12 militants, said police Chief Matiullah Khan. No police were killed in the operation, which finished on Friday, he said.
And just as happened in Iraq, the locals are cooperating with the good guys:
Police in western Farah province said they killed four insurgents setting up a makeshift base in a village, apparently aiming to launch strikes on Farah city.
Residents of Raj, about two miles north of Farah city, tipped off officials that a convoy of enemy fightershad arrived in the village, provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Ghafar Watandar said.
Meanwhile our predator attacks against al-Qaeda in Pakistan continue. The Long War Journal updates on the progress we have made killing the leaders in the tribal areas of Waziristan:
The US launched another unmanned Predator aircraft strike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal areas, according to reports from the region.
The Predator fired several Hellfire missiles at a Taliban and al Qaeda safe house in North Waziristan. The strike took place in Chashma, a village on the outskirts of Miramshah, the main town in the tribal agency, Reuters reported.
“A missile was fired at a house owned by one Taj Mohammad, and we have reports of two men killed,” a Pakistani intelligence agency official told the news agency.
At least three people have been reported killed, according to the Xinhua news service. The target of the strike is unknown. No senior Taliban or al Qaeda leaders have been reported killed in the attack.
The majority of US strikes inside of Pakistan’s northwest have taken place inside North Waziristan. The al Qaeda-linked Haqqani family and Taliban warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadar operate in North Waziristan. The Haqqani Network has a strong presence in Miramshah region of North Waziristan.
Today’s attack is the fifth this month and the first since Nov. 21, when a safe house hosting a meeting in North Waziristan that included al Qaeda operatives Rashid Rauf and Abu Zubair al Masri was hit. Both Rauf and Zubair are thought to have been killed, however this has not been confirmed. Rauf’s family claimed his is still alive. On Nov. 19, the US hit an al Qaeda safe house in Bannu. This was the first recorded US strike outside of Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The US attacks inside Pakistan have tapered off this month after a high operational tempo in September and October, when strikes into Pakistan averaged between two to three a week. The majority of these attacks have been inside North and South Waziristan.
There have been 32 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan this year, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-five of these attacks took place since Aug. 31. There were only 10 strikes during 2006 and 2007 combined.
The strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas have disrupted al Qaeda and the Taliban’s operations, but will not dislodge the groups from power in the region, a senior intelligence official told The Long War Journal.
The US campaign in Pakistan is aimed at disrupting al Qaeda’s ability to attack the West, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal on Sept. 19.
US intelligence believes the next attack launched against the West will originate from Pakistan’s tribal areas, where al Qaeda operates 157 known training camps, intelligence officials told The Long War Journal in August.
The US strikes inside Pakistan’s tribal areas have killed five senior al Qaeda leaders this year. All of the leaders were involved in supporting al Qaeda’s external operations directed at the West.
Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander in Afghanistan, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan in January. Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda’s external operations chief, was killed in a strike in Bajaur in March. Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda’s WMD chief, and several senior members of his staff were killed in a strike in South Waziristan in July. Khalid Habib, the leader of al Qaeda’s paramilitary forces in the tribal Ares, was killed in North Waziristan in October. Abu Jihad al Masri, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and member of al Qaeda’s top council, was also killed in North Waziristan this October.
Two other senior al Qaeda leaders are rumored to have been killed, but their deaths have not been confirmed.
Our own ChrisG is in Afghanistan serving his country and posted some thoughts and experiences yesterday….check it out here.