Detailed statistics of all bombing missions on Pakistan since June 17, 2004 can be found here:
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Number of American bombing missions over Pakistan
American Attack No. 001
Thursday June 17, 2004
Night raid kills Nek, four other militants: Wana operation
19 June 2004 Saturday 30 Rabi-us-Saani 1425
By Ismail Khan and Dilawar Khan Wazir
PESHAWAR/WANA, June 18: Security forces have killed Nek Mohammad and four other tribal militants in a missile attack on a village in Wana, the regional headquarters of the South Waziristan Agency.
"Nek Mohammad was suspected to be present in a hideout with his associates and our security forces acted swiftly on the information and that is how he was killed," a military spokesman said on Friday.
Residents of Shah Nawaz Kot, a small hamlet about two kilometres south of Scouts Camp, said the 27-year-old militant was killed when his hideout was hit by a missile. The attack was reportedly carried out at 10pm on Thursday night when Nek Mohammad was taking dinner along with his colleagues in the courtyard of the house of his long-time friend, the late Sher Zaman Ashrafkhel, an Afghan refugee from his Ahmadzai Wazir tribe.
Also killed were two sons of Nek's two mujahideen friends and his hosts, Fakhar Zaman and Azmat Khan. Eyewitnesses said that Nek Mohammad and Azmat Khan were taken to the agency headquarters hospital in a critical condition where they succumbed to their injuries. The other militants died on the spot.
Witnesses said that Nek Mohammad's face bore burn marks and his left hand and leg appeared to have been badly injured in the explosion. "Why aren't you putting a bandage on my arm," were his last words, those accompanying Nek Mohammad to the hospital quoted him as saying.
A trained pro-Taliban fighter, who fought the US and Northern Alliance forces at Bagram, north of Kabul, Nek Mohammad rose to fame following a bloody clash with security forces in Kaloosha last March.
The tribal militant broke through the security cordon with his guest, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Qari Tahir Yaldashev, in his bullet proof car, amid a hail of bullets and rockets.
The encounter won him fame and later he figured in several propaganda video CDs exhorting Muslims to wage jihad. For the tribesmen in South Waziristan, he became a symbol of defiance and was likened to the legendary tribal hero Faqir Ippi who had fought the British.
Nek Mohammad and his four other companions were declared wanted by the government for harbouring and facilitating foreign militants. However, after the Kaloosha operation, he was granted amnesty at an official ceremony at Shakai on April 24 on the undertaking that he would not use Pakistan's soil against any other country.
The agreement collapsed when the government insisted that foreign militants must be handed over for registration. The tribal militant, however, denied this had been part of the agreement.
"Those foreigners who are living here are not terrorists, rather they are mujahideen who took part in the Afghan jihad," he had told the BBC Pushto service in an interview this week.
Witnesses said that a spy drone was seen flying overheard minutes before the missile attack. There were also reports that Nek Mohammad was speaking on a satellite phone when the missile struck, fuelling speculations that he might have been hit by a guided missile.
The precision with which the missile landed right in the middle of the courtyard where Nek Mohammad and his colleagues were sitting, lent credence to the theory. Locals said that the missile created a six feet crater.
An associate of Nek Mohammad, who called the BBC Pushto office in Peshawar, also said that the tribal militant had been killed while speaking on a satellite phone. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) declined to speculate on how the militant had been killed.
"We have various means and a full array of weapons at our disposal. We have artillery that can fire with precision and we have helicopters with night vision capability which can fire guided missiles. But I am not going to give out operational secrets on how he was killed," ISPR Director-General Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan told Dawn by phone from Islamabad.
"Absolutely absurd," was his response when asked about rumours that Nek Mohammad had been killed with the US assistance. "Intelligence is like a jigsaw puzzle, it does not come from a single source on a single time," Gen Sultan said.
"Nek Mohammad was on the satellite phone literally everyday giving out interviews to foreign broadcasts," he added. Thousands of mourners gathered at Nek Mohammad's native area, Kaloosha, about 10km to the west of Wana, to attend his funeral.
Not seen at the funeral, however, were his four comrades, who along with Nek Mohammad, had once been declared wanted for harbouring foreign militants, and later pardoned.
"I did not surrender to the government. That's totally wrong. Surrender means you give up your mission and everything and this is not the case. I stand by my point of view and will fight till the end," he had told the BBC Pushto service in his last interview.
Gen Shaukat Sultan said the security forces were prepared for any kind of reaction. "He was a local Al Qaeda sympathiser. That much has to be realized that there may be some kind of reaction or backlash but our security forces are prepared for that kind of reaction."
Nek killed in missile strike
Saturday, June 19, 2004
By Iqbal Khattak
PESHAWAR: The government said on Friday that it had killed rebel tribal leader and former Taliban commander Nek Mohammad and seven others including two foreigners in a targeted strike in a raid near Wana in South Waziristan Agency late on Thursday night.
A guided missile fired from a US-provided night-capable helicopter hit Nek Muhammad and his colleagues, intelligence sources said.
The dead also included three local Taliban and two young sons of a tribesman hosting Nek.
Military spokesman Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan confirmed Nek’s death, who resisted the government efforts to proceed against militants in Waziristan and had fought pitched battles with the army since last year but was pardoned after reaching a deal with the military on April 24.
“Nek is the 61st miscreant to be killed” in South Waziristan, said Gen Sultan who hoped that Nek’s death would prove a telling blow to anyone continuing to facilitate Al Qaeda. The spokesman said that Nek was just another miscreant. “We are not on a manhunt. We will eliminate every miscreant who does not surrender or denounce terrorism or militancy,” the spokesman vowed.
Intelligence sources told Daily Times that a call from Nek’s satellite phone was intercepted around 9:00pm on Thursday and a night-vision helicopter was sent in for a “targeted killing”. They said that a laser-guided missile was used in the attack. Sources said that Nek was in the house of tribal leader Sher Zaman whose two sons aged 16 and 10 were also killed in the attack.
“Minutes after he ended his phone call, a [guided] missile hit the place at 9:45pm where Nek, two Uzbeks and three local Taliban were dining,” a neighbour of Mr Zaman in Karikot area near Wana told Daily Times while quoting the host’s family. Nek was taken to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. “Allah O Akbar (God is great) were his last words,” said the tribesmen who had brought Nek to the hospital.
A doctor at the Agency Headquarters Hospital told Daily Times that the lower half of Nek’s body was badly injured in the attack. The doctor said the bodies of the other men kill in the attack were also badly mutilated.
Thousands of Zalikhel tribesmen attended Nek’s funeral in Kalosha region where he was buried. He left behind two wives and a teenaged son. He had married his second wife around a fortnight ago.
The army spokesman accused Nek of “abusing” the amnesty offer when he claimed responsibility for attacks on two security posts in Tiarzah on June 9. “Who revoked the amnesty offer? We did not. The amnesty offer still stands. The real question is who abused it,” Gen Sultan replied when asked if the government had revoked the offer before killing Nek as the former Taliban commander and his four accomplices were pardoned under a deal with the military. “He has been killed with four other terrorists,” Gen Sultan said but he could not confirm that two foreigners were also killed in the attack. Reaction to Nek’s death was mixed. “People wept and many at first refused to believe that Nek was dead,” a tribal elder who attended Nek’s funeral told Daily Times.
“He was a brave man,” a young tribesman said. However, many tribesmen hoped that Nek’s death would help restore peace to Waziristan if the government “takes steps to win the hearts and minds of all Wazir tribesmen”.
“Men like Nek are not born every day. His death is a serious setback for foreigners who used him as a frontman,” a tribal elder said.
His death raises fresh fears of a violent backlash by his followers, security analysts said.
In his last interview with a foreign radio channel, Nek vowed to teach the government a lesson and take the war beyond Waziristan.
Shaukat Piracha adds: Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat informed the National Assembly on Friday about Nek’s murder and reaffirmed the government’s resolve to continue its operations until the last terrorist was eliminated. In his policy statement, the minister said that more than 55 foreign militants had been killed in the ongoing operation in Wana. “Last night, an operation was carried out and the death toll of killed terrorists might have risen from 65 to 70, including Nek Muhammad,” Mr Hayat said.