US drones launched yet another unilateral air strike into Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency today, hitting what was described as a “suspected al-Qaeda compound” with multiple missiles and killing at least 13 inside. Information travels slowly in this remote part of Pakistan, but an intelligence officer said “eight Pakistani Taliban and five guests” were among the dead.
The attack is the first since General David Petraeus took over as head of US Central Command, and comes just days after a visit to Pakistan during which top Pakistani officials pressured him to halt the attacks. The most recent attack was a week ago today (hours before Petraeus assumed the CENTCOM position formally), when twin US strikes killed a total of 32 people in both North and South Waziristan.
The strikes have escalated in recent months as part of what has been described as the “gloves have come off” strategy. Pakistan has denied persistent rumors that they have a “secret understanding” with the US regarding the strikes, and they have angrily publicly denounced the attacks, though the Pakistani military has only taken action so far during attempted US helicopter raids, and the drones have had only fire from angry tribesmen to contend with.