October 30, 2006

Zawahiri Targeted

That is what A.J. Strata, AllahPundit, Bill Roggio and others are thinking today in response to reports that Pakistani military forces killed 80 suspected al Qaeda militants with a strike led by Pakistani helicopter gunships using "precision weapons," Among the confirmed dead so far is radical cleric Maulana Liaqat, who led the al Qaeda-affiliated school.

Roggio suspects that the attack may not have been carried out by Pakistani forces, but instead an combined forces hunter/killer team currently named Task Force 145.

In previous incarnations, this team hunted and killed Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq as TF 626, hunted and coordinated the capture of Saddam Hussein as TF121, and hunted down and killing Saddam's son's Uday and Qusay as TF20.

Whatever the group is called, it is thought to be composed of the most elite American and British Special Forces units from all branches of service, including elements of Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, SAS and SFSG commandos, and US Army, USAF, and RAF special operations air units.

Brian Ross is stating that the attack came from Predator drones.

Zawahiri was targeted and almost killed in a Predator strike under similar circumstances back in January.

Update: The operation appears to be completely Pakistani in execution, as eyewitnesses identified three Pakistani helicopters as having fired upon the Taliban and al Qaeda affiliated madrassa. What is interesting is that the locals have displayed just 20 bodies of the 80 thought to have been killed, even though there is comparatively little rubble remaining to hide bodies according to the few pictures taken from the scene.

We know from previous attacks in the area that the Taliban and al Qaeda forces are quick to claim their bodies for the rubble of such strikes if at all possible, and so the discrepancy between the number claimed killed and those recovered may be an inadverdant indicator of how many militants were indeed killed.

Update: An al Qaeda leader that survived the strike confirmed that the madrassa was used to train militants.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 30, 2006 03:04 PM | TrackBack

Last time around Musharaff unequivocally stated he "would not let this happen again"- (i.e., an American air attack over Paki territory).

Someone must have had solid intel.

Could this be the one?

Posted by: TMF at October 30, 2006 03:10 PM

Realistically, the guy has nothing to lose these days by taking a hard line. They're already trying to assassinate him, so being a badass isn't going to change that.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 30, 2006 11:13 PM