CONFIRMATION AWAITS, but Obama administration officials see “strong indications” that the leading commander of the Haqqani network was killed in a drone strike that also claimed the lives of 18 others.
From the New York Times this morning:
Senior American officials said they had strong indications that Badruddin Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani network, which is responsible for some of the most spectacular assaults on American bases and Afghan cities in recent years, was killed in a drone strike this week.
“There are indications that Haqqani has met his demise,” a senior United States official said in Washington on Friday. He said that officials were waiting to sift through evidence, including information on jihadist Web sites, before they could be certain that Mr. Haqqani had been killed.
[...] Early Friday, C.I.A. drones fired at least six missiles at three locations in the Shawal Valley, destroying mud-walled compounds and at least two vehicles, said two Pakistani security officials and a local Taliban commander. Among the 18 people reported to have been killed was Emeti Yakuf, a senior leader of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a group from western China whose members are Chinese Uighur Muslim militants.
If Haqqani was assassinated in this drone strike, he would be the latest in a line of successful drones targets under the command of C.I.A. Director David Petraeus, the last being Al Qaeda deputy leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the C.I.A. isn’t just for spooks anymore.