An odd coincidence, that Predator drone killing 60+ Taliban

New York Times reporter David Rohde escapes Taliban captivity after 7 months, and New York Magazine posts this story on the background activities while he’s captive.

On November 10, the Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter was kidnapped, along with his Afghan fixer, Tahir Ludin, and their driver, en route to a meeting with an Afghan Taliban commander south of Kabul. He was held in Taliban-controlled northwest Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan for seven months; all the while the Times worked frantically to secure his release and convinced dozens of competing news organizations to remain silent about the abduction and their negotiations for fear that any attention to Rohde’s case could lead to his life being put at even greater risk.

The Taliban commander seems to have other plans.

The commander they expected to see was Abu Tayeb, a grizzled Afghan-Soviet War veteran and the son of a teacher—more of a local thug than a religious ideologue. Afghan experts say the motivation for most of his purported violent activities is money, not jihad. . . . They were stopped before they reached him and taken captive by men whom two sources described as working for Abu Tayeb.

As this was for money, the captives were sold up the food chain. (bold mine).

Rohde, in fact, was no longer in Abu Tayeb’s custody at all. He had been sold up the food chain, to Sirajuddin Haqqani, an Afghan warlord with a $5 million price tag on his head through the State Department’s Reward for Justice program. The son of famed mujahideen leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, Sirajuddin is believed by U.S. authorities to be aligned closely with both the Taliban and Al Qaeda, while maintaining his own insurgent organization in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The younger Haqqani is considered a terrorist and suspected to be the person behind the suicide bombing at Kabul’s five-star Serena Hotel last year..

Enter Predator, as reported by Bill Roggio, less than a week after Rohde’s escape.

The Predator strike aircraft fired three Hellfire missiles as Taliban fighters gathered for a funeral of Khog Wali, a leader in Baitullah’s army in South Waziristan who was among six Taliban fighters killed in the first US airstrike earlier today.

Commander Sangeen, a Taliban commander from Afghanistan, was reported to be among those killed in the strike at the funeral. Predators are said to have fired on Taliban vehicles as they attempted to leave the scene of the attack, Dawn reported.

The attack took place in the town of Makeen, a stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, according toGeo News.  The US has hit Taliban facilities in the Makeen region three times since June 14. The Pakistani Air Force has also launched several attacks in the region.

These attacks coincided with an important meeting between Baitullah and a senior delegation of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders to discuss the military’s operation in South Waziristan. Among those in attendance were Siraj Haqqani, Abu Yahya al Libi, Abdul Haq, and two senior deputies of Mullah Abdullah Zakir. The US appears to have targeted al Qaeda’s senior leadership as it met with Baitullah.

Checkmate, and thanks to the NY Times for playing this one out.

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