January 29, 2008
Twelve suspected militants died in a missile strike on a home in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, officials said.
The attack occurred after midnight in Khushali Torikhel, a village in North Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an intelligence and a government official in the region said.
There was no immediate official confirmation of the attack. The two officials who spoke did so on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make media comments.
Pakistan has been trying to tamp down on militancy in its border regions, where elements of Al Qaeda and the Taliban are believed to operate.
Technically, the Pakistani military has the capability to launch guided missiles from both ground platforms (given the terrain and effective range, unlikely) and from aircraft (more likely), but considering the proximity to the Afghan border and the fact that the strike happened at nighttime, I would hardly be surprised to find out that a U.S. Predator armed with Hellfire missiles made the strike. If that was the case, I would not be surprised to see that leaked out over coming days.
Of course, if this was a U.S. strike, the next logical question is to ask if they were after any high value targets (HVTs) in particular.
In January of 2006, a Predator fired missiles into a compound on the Pakistan border in hopes of taking out al Qaeda's Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief deputy. The 2006 strike missed Zawahiri.
Could we have been more fortunate this time?