US drones fired three missiles at the house of a tribesman in a village along the border between North and South Waziristan Agencies, killing at least 12 and injuring an unknown number of others. An official from Pakistan’s parliament said five of those killed were foreigners.
Oddly the attack is alleged to have targeted Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who Reuters claims has been “bottled up” in this village by Pakistani forces since early this year. This village is on the North Waziristan side of the border. Twice in October the US launched attacks on two separate villages in South Waziristan both aimed at Baitullah, killing six and 20 respectively.
This is the third time then in less than a month that the United States has targeted Baitullah, in three separate villages, in two separate agencies, and all after he reportedly died of kidney failure. This seems to confirm TTP claims that reports of his death were overblown. It should also be noted that Baitullah negotiated a peace deal with the Pakistani government in 2005 and that the Pakistani military is not reported to be involved in any serious offensives in either Waziristan, so it is unclear how Pakistani forces could possibly be “bottling” him up in this village or any other.
Pakistan has been protesting against the US strikes for several months now, but those complaints have largely fallen on deaf ears. With the current administration firmly committed to such attacks and the incoming President-elect Obama a long-time advocate of strikes on Pakistani territory it seems unlikely that the course will be reversed any time soon.