The Chenagai airstrike took place on October 30, 2006, around 5:00 am local time. Missiles were fired at a madrassa in Chenagai village in Bajaur region of Pakistan. An eyewitness has stated that the madrassa was filled with local students who had resumed studies after the Eid ul-Fitr holiday. 82 people died in the attack. The United States was accused of the attacks. The U.S. government denied involvement in the attack. Long War Journal blamed U.S. for the air strike as only U.S. was able to conduct precision night strikes in the region. Later on it was found that United States was indeed responsible for the airstrike.
|Part of the War on Terrorism|
|Unknown number of MQ-1 Predator||Unspecified (estimated to be 90)|
|Casualties and losses|
In January 2006, US forces in Afghanistan carried out an airstrike in Bajaur's Damadola village which US officials tried to cover up by saying it was aimed at al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Zawahiri never went to Bajaur ironically.
The attack took place in Chenagai village near the town of Khar, the main town in Bajaur region. The leader of the madrassa, cleric Maulana Liaqat Ullah Hussain, was suspected to be sheltering al-Qaeda militants and was among the dead. Locals claimed that the missiles were fired by US drones.
According to the American Broadcasting Company, the attack was launched by a MQ-1 Predator with Ayman al-Zawahiri as its intended target. However, the report's author has since been removed from ABC's site due to questions concerning the reliability of his reporting.
Pakistani officials have claimed that the strike was conducted by the U.S. and that they have also requested the U.S. not to violate their sovereignty again. Local people claimed the victims included boys as young as 12. Long War Journal, after conducting analysis of the strike, claimed that strike was indeed carried out U.S. as Pakistan does not possess capabilities to conduct precision night strikes. Later on it was found that U.S. was indeed responsible for the airstrike.
There were angry reactions in response to the strike. Many Muslim groups have condemned the action. Siraj-ul-Haq, the senior Minister and Provincial Chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, resigned from the provincial cabinet in protest against the strikes. Sahibzada Haroonur Rashid, MNA (Member of National Assembly) from Bajaur Agency, also resigned from the National Assembly in protest.
Following attacks against the madrasa in the Bajaur tribal agency, on November 8, 2006, a suicide bomber killed 42 Pakistani soldiers and injured 20 others in Dargai, 85 miles north-west of Islamabad. It has already called the deadliest attack by the militants on the army since it began operations against pro-Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. Though no one has claimed responsibility as yet, the attack has been linked to the Bajaur militants.
- "The emerging age of drone wars". CBS News. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
And more than once the United States has gotten it wrong -- perhaps most tragically on Oct. 30, 2006, when an errant drone strike obliterated an Islamic boarding school in Chenagai, Pakistan, killing 82 people.
- "US carried out madrasah bombing". London: The Sunday Times website. 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
- "'Al Qaeda school' attack: 80 dead". CNN. 2006-10-30. Archived from the original on 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2006-10-30.
- "A Closer Look at the Chingai Airstrike in Bajaur, Pakistan". Long war journal. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
Also Alexis Debat reports U.S. ‘drones’ – actually this would be Predator UAVs, conducted the strike, and not Pakistani helicopters. An American intelligence source informs us that the Pakistani Army does not possess the capabilities to conduct precision night strikes such as this attack.
- Perseverance of Terrorism: Focus on Leaders. M. Milosevic and K. Rekawek. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Debat, Alexis (2006-10-30). "Zawahiri Was Target in U.S. Attack on Religious School in Pakistan". Retrieved 2006-10-31.
- "NWFP senior minister resigns". DAWN. 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2006-10-31.
- "MNA resigns in protest against air strike". DAWN. 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2006-10-31.