ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 23 — At least 20 people were killed in northwest Pakistan near the border of Afghanistan on Friday in two suspected U.S. missile strikes, marking the first such attack in Pakistan’s tribal areas since President Obama’s inauguration.
A U.S. Predator drone fired three missiles at a compound about two miles from the town of Mirali in the tribal area of North Waziristan about 5:15 p.m., according to a Pakistani security official and local residents. The precision strike leveled a compound, which was owned by local tribal elder Khalil Malik, killing at least 10 suspected militants, including five foreign nationals, according to the Pakistani security official. The site of the attack is about 30 miles east of the Afghan border.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Malik was killed along with his brother and nephew. Authorities in North Waziristan, however, said they have been so far unable to identify any of those killed because militants immediately cordoned off the area. “I suspect a high-value target may be among the dead,” the Pakistani security official said.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ second White House press briefing started with a series of questions on economics and the stimulus package, but it wasn’t long before a reporter asked about alleged US missile strikes in Pakistan which reportedly killed 15 early Friday morning.
But Gibbs refused to answer the question by NBC News’ Chuck Todd, saying, “I’m not going to get into this matter.”
All kinds of implications here, and no hard news yet, other than the bare facts. Was it a ‘good strike?’ Or another bloody botch? Was this such a ‘good target’ that he had to take a shot? Did Bushco have this info but not act on it? Perhaps due to the fact that they have SEEMED to be protecting Bin Laden instead of getting him ‘dead or alive’ for the last five years? As well as SEEMING to be overly invested and thus handcuffed by internal Pakistani politics? (A true can of worms due to nukes and the nefarious and odious ISI.)
Is he “announcing his presence with authority?”
More ‘wow’ fer sure. I of course condemn…and have a knee jerk reaction to… any loss of life. But Obama is, unfortunately going to have to be ‘tough’ and kill people, I have resigned myself to that. I just hope that we have stopped bombing weddings, at least. We shall see.