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Since August 27th the United States has carried out 31 unmanned airstrikes.
September 3rd: The United States carried out two airstrikes in North Waziristan. The first attack saw two missiles fired at a compound near Miramshah. Six 'local militants' were killed in the attack, with none believed to be senior al Qaida or Taliban figures. A second strike hit a compound in the town of Data Khel. Nine Taliban fighters were reported killed in this attack, including a local commander known as Inayatullah.
September 4th: A third airstrike in the space of two days focussed upon a compound and vehicle in the Data Khel region of North Waziristan. Between five and eight militants were reported in the attack on the village of Mizer.
September 6th: Two missiles were fired at a vehicle in the village of Khar Qamar, Data Khel, North Waziristan. Pakistani intelligence officials claimed that five militants were killed in the attack, although none were believed to be senior al Qaida or Taliban operatives. However, the Long War Journal indicates that not only is Data Khel the stronghold of Hafiz Gul Badahar – a leading Taliban commander – it is also a known hub for al Qaida's top leadership.
September 8th: There were four unmanned airstrikes over twenty-fours as the United States' campaign in North Waziristan gathered momentum. The first strike against a compound in the town of Danda Darpa Khel reportedly killed ten militants. This was followed by another attack claiming the lives of four Haqqani network fighters. A third airstrike took place in the town of Ambor Shaga, Data Khel. In this attack three missiles were fired at a vehicle, killing four militants. No senior al Qaida or Taliban operatives were reported killed in these strikes.
The fourth airstrike of the day focussed upon the town of Miramshah. Three missiles were fired at a compound resulting in the death of six Taliban fighters and five injuries. It was reported that some of the victims were Afghans. Whilst no senior operatives at the time were believed to have been killed in this attack, the Taliban reportedly cordoned off the area and attempted to recover the dead and the wounded.
However on September 30th reports emerged that eight Germans and two Britons were amongst the dead in the Data Khel airstrike. They were involved in the recently exposed plot to conduct a range of Mumbai-style attacks throughout Europe. The casualties also included an Islamic Jihad Group commander who trained Europeans to carry out attacks on their home soil.
The Islamic Jihad Group – a splinter faction of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan – is known to operate a 'German Taliban village' in Waziristan.
Today was the first time that the United States carried out four airstrikes within a 24 hour period.
September 12th: An unmanned airstrike fired two missiles at a house in the village of Newey Adda, Data Khel, North Waziristan. Pakistani intelligence officials claimed that amongst the six killed were two 'guests' or foreign members of al Qaida. However none of the victims were believed to be leading figures.
September 14th: The United States launched three airstrikes in the space of twenty four hours today. Eleven militants were killed in an attack on a 'hideout' in the village of Bushnarai, Shawal, North Waziristan. Several 'foreigners' were reported killed in the strike, but exact numbers and identities were not disclosed.
In the second strike a U.S. drone fired two missiles at a vehicle in the village of Qutabkhel near Miramshah, North Waziristan. At least four militants were killed in the attack, none of whom were believed to be senior figures. However reports later claimed that a senior Afghan operative known as Saifullah was killed in this strike. Pakistani intelligence officials cited communications intercepts as the basis for the claim.
Later the United States fired five missiles at two compounds in the village of Darga Mandi, Miramshah, North Waziristan. Whilst no senior operatives were reported killed in the strike Reuters claimed that members of the Punjabi Taliban were amongst the victims.
September 15th: Three operatives were killed in a strike on an unspecified target in the village of Payekhel, Datta Khel, North Waziristan. None were believed to be senior al Qaida or Taliban figures.
September 19th: The United States again targeted the village of Payekhel, firing four missiles at a vehicle and the compound of a known 'local militant'. Five operatives were reported killed in the attack.
September 20th: US Predators or Reapers struck against two 'militants' riding motorcycles in the town of Darazinda, Data Khel, North Waziristan. An additional two missiles were fired at the motorcycles when two colleagues rushed towards them. Four militants were reported killed in this strike.
September 21st: Whilst the United States struck for the third straight day, the location changed to South Waziristan. An unmanned airstrike targeted a compound in the town of Azam Warsak. Amongst the sixteen Taliban fighters reported killed was Mullah Shamshullah. This commander served as a spokesman and second-in-command to Mullah Nazir, the leader of the Taliban in the Waziri tribal areas of South Waziristan. Despite being regarded as 'good Taliban' by Pakistani security forces, Nazir openly supports Osama bin Laden and operates in Afghanistan. Nazir also shelters the Mehsuds from Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
September 22nd: The United States unmanned campaign continued to focus on South Waziristan. Two missiles were fired at a vehicle in the town of Khand Morsak. No operatives were reported killed in this attack.
September 25th: North Waziristan returned as the focus of unmanned airstrikes today. Three missiles were fired at a vehicle in the Data Khel region. Four militants were killed in the strike, although none were thought to be senior operatives.
September 26th: A Taliban compound and vehicle were struck in the village of Asar, Data Khel. Four militants were killed in the first strike against the vehicle, with another three in the attack on the compound.
September 27th: North Waziristan was the location for the third airstrike in as many days. Two missiles were fired at a Taliban compound in the village of Khushali Toorikhel near Miramshah. Pakistani officials later confirmed that four militants were killed in the attack, although none were senior al Qaida or Taliban figures.
September 28th: The focus returned to South Waziristan as drones attacked a Taliban compound in the village of Zeba near the region's main town of Wana. Four militants were reported killed in the airstrike.
October 2nd: Unmanned aircraft strike twice in North Waziristan, 14 Haqqani network, Uzbek and Taliban operatives. In the first strike four missiles were fired at a compound in the village of Dashgah, Datta Khel. Ten militants were reported killed in this attack. The strike occurred in the nearby village of Inzarkas. Four militants were reported killed after a strike against a vehicle believed to have been fleeing the scene of the earlier attack.
October 4th: Eight Germans were reported killed in an airstrike on a mosque in the town of Mir Ali, North Waziristan. Mir Ali is a stronghold of Abu Kasha al Iraqi. Abu Kasha is an Iraqi national with close links to al Qaida's Shura Majlis. He is also thought to be involved in the development of al Qaida's external operations against the West.
October 6th: The United States conducted two unmanned airstrikes today. The first targeted a compound in the village of Sirai Darpay Khel, Miramshah, North Waziristan. Six militants were reported killed in the attack. Reports also suggested that the compound was used by terrorists involved in the al Qaida plot to conduct attacks on Europe modeled on events in Mumbai, 2008.
In a second attack, US drones fired two missiles at a compound in the village of Hormuz, Mir Ali. Pakistani intelligence officials claimed five militants were killed. Whilst no senior operatives were believed to have been killed in this attack the Taliban immediately cordoned off the area and recovered bodies.
October 7th: Mir Ali remained the focus of US airstrikes with an attack on a compound and vehicle in the village of Khaisoori. Four militants were killed in the attack.
Two days later it was reported that an al Qaida ambassador to Iran was killed in this airstrike. Atiyah Abd al Raman, a Libyan national who has been based in Iran, has reportedly served as Osama bin Laden's ambassador to religious figures. Intelligence officials have so far refused to confirm reports.
October 8th: Nine militants were killed in two attacks in North Waziristan. Five were reported killed in a strike in the Data Khel area, and four in a later attack within Mohammed Khel. The actual targets have not been disclosed. Whilst reports claimed that several 'foreigner's were reported amongst the casualties none were thought to be senior operatives.
October 10th: A compound and two vehicles were attacked in an airstrike in the village of Shawa, North Waziristan. At least seven militants were reported killed and three wounded in the attack. The compound was known to be used by Afghan refugees who support Taliban operations over the border. No senior Taliban or al Qaida operatives were killed in this attack.
October 13th: The United States conducted two unmanned airstrikes on a compound and vehicles in the town of Lataka, Data Khel, North Waziristan. Seven militants were killed in the initial airstrike. However as Taliban operatives returned to recover bodies the compound was struck again, resulting in the death of four operatives.
Whilst no senior operatives were reported killed the nature of the strike – multiple targets and a follow up attack – suggests that a high-value target was the focus of the airstrike.
According to the Long War Journal the United States has now undertaken 85 airstrikes in 2010. These strikes have resulted in the death of 596 perceived al Qaida or Taliban operatives against ten civilian casualties. After the recent spike in attacks, it is very tempting to speculate that by the end of the year the United States will have carried out 100 unmanned airstrikes within Pakistan.