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By Caroline Cameron, Great North News Services
TOTAL US drone attacks on targets in Pakistan for 2011 have now reached 21, according to the Long War Journal.
Strikes so far this year appear to have resulted in 135 casualties, 30 of whom were civilians and a claimed 105 from the Afghan Taliban/Pakistan Taliban/Al Qaeda.
Almost 81% of attacks since the beginning of this year have been in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan, with some 43% hitting the Bahadar tribal area.
There have been a total of 236 strikes since the programme began in 2004; 226 of those have taken place since January 2008.
Details of incidents during the month:
The US carried out a Predator airstrike in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, killing 25 people in an area known to host terrorist training camp
The attack took place just one day after the top US military leader visitedIslamabad in an attempt to patch up the increasingly troubled relationship between the two countries. Before the death of Bin Laden, senior political figures in Pakistan had been increasingly vocal in their condemnation and calls for a cessation of the campaign.
A pair of either the unmanned US Predator strike aircraft, or the more deadly Reapers, fired four missiles at a compound in the village of Spinwan near Mir Ali in North Waziristan. Initial reports indicated that five terrorists were killed, Pakistani intelligence officials told Reuters. But officials later said 25 people were killed, including three women. "Foreigners" – often a euphemism for foreign fighters - were also reported to have been killed.
The target of the strike was fighters under the command of North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar. Taliban fighters cordoned off the attack site after the strike. No senior al Qaeda, Taliban, or other terrorist leaders have been reported killed in the April 22 strike.
Coalition and Afghan special operations teams killed a senior, dual-hatted Talibanand Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan commander during a raid in a district in the Afghan north that has been identified as a terrorist "safe haven."
The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that the commander, Mullah Abdul Fatah Haqqani, was killed in an airstrike in the district of Burkah in Baghlan province.
"Haqqani supported both the Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan networks by commanding and controlling foreign fighter facilitation and insurgent training for Baghlan province," ISAF said later. ISAF uses the term "foreign fighters" to describe members of al Qaeda and allied groups.
Haqqani also "was responsible for overseeing the purchase of weapons and explosive devices for Taliban insurgents, supporting numerous attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout the area."
A senior al Qaeda leader wanted by the Saudi government was among several terrorists claimed killed in an airstrike in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar.
The commander, Abu Hafs al Najdi, served as al Qaeda's operations chief for Kunar province and was responsible for "establishing insurgent camps and training sites"
throughout the province.
Najdi, a Saudi citizen on his country's list of 85 most wanted terrorists, was killed along with another senior al Qaeda leader in the April 14 airstrike in the Dangam district in Kunar.
Najdi, whose real name was Saleh Naiv Almakhlvi Day and who was also known as Abdul Ghani, was number 23 on the list of most wanted terrorists that was issued by the Saudi government in February 2009. US military officials briefed that Hajdi was ISAF's number two target in Afghanistan.
The CIA reportedly carried out its first airstrike in Pakistan's tribal areas against the Taliban and al Qaeda since the March 17 attack that sparked protests from top Pakistani government and military officials.
The April 13 strike took place in the town of Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, an area under the influence of South Waziristan Taliban warlord Mullah Nazir.
Unmanned Predators or Reapers fired four missiles at a pickup truck transporting fighters from the Haqqani Network, the al Qaeda-linked Taliban subgroup, Pakistani intelligence officials told AFP.
Six Haqqani Network fighters were reported to have been killed. A local official claimed that all of those killed were from Afghanistan. No senior al Qaeda, Taliban, or Haqqani Network leaders were reported to have been killed.