Islamabad, Pakistan – A US drone strike in Pakistan killed at least six people including a top Taliban leader, Maulvi Nazir. An additional and separate attack killed at least 5 more.
There are conflicting reports on where he was killed. The New York Times reports Nazir’s vehicle was struck by a drone in the Angoor Adda area in South Waziristan. Along with killing Nazir, five others including one of his aides was killed. However, The Huffington Post reports that Nazir was killed when two missiles hit a house in South Waziristan while he was meeting with supporters and other leaders. They also report that eight others were killed in the strike as well.
Whichever way he died, a senior Pakistani intelligence office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “He has been killed; it is confirmed. The vehicle he was traveling in was hit,” according to the New York Times.
Nazir, who is believed to be in his 30s, led the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe. His followers routinely joined in attacks on US soldiers in Afghanistan. Unlike other Taliban factions, Nazir’s fighters focused thier attacks on the war in Afghanistan and did not attack Pakistani military or government sites. He was believed to have signed a peach pact with the Pakistani military. Nazir’s allly, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a leading warlord in North Waziristan were called the “good Taliban” due to their non-confrontational posture toward the Pakistani military.
Because Nazir did not focus on Pakistani targets this may cause more friction between the US and Pakistan which is already tense. Drone strikes anger Pakistanis who say innocent civilians have been killed by drones which the US denies. The use of drones against militants in Pakistan has increased under President Obama.
In another separate drone Thursday morning, at least four people were killed in their vehicle, which was targeted, in North Waziristan. Their identities were not immediately known.
Mansur Mahsud, the head of the Islamabad-based FATA Research Centre, which studies the tribal regions said in The Huffington Post, “His death is a great blow to the Afghan Taliban.”