US drone strike kills Maulvi Nazir
* Commander among 10 militants killed in South Waziristan
* Pentagon terms death a ‘major development’
PESHAWAR: US drone strikes killed a prominent warlord who sent insurgents to fight NATO troops in Afghanistan along with ten other militants in South Waziristan, local officials said on Thursday.
Ten Taliban militants, including leader Maulvi Nazir, were killed in a US-operated drone strike in the South Waziristan on Thursday, officials and local Taliban confirmed. The Thursday’s drone strike is the first in 2013 after dozens of such strikes in 2012. The drone targeted the Taliban leader near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan and the strike took place in wee hours of Thursday, and hit a moving convoy. “Maulvi Nazir was on his way to Wana from Birmal when the convoy was hit in Sarkundi area (in Birmal tehsil), killing him and nine others,” officials sources told Daily Times by phone from Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan.
Maulvi Nazir earned fame in spring 2007 when he led a successful uprising against foreign militants in Ahmedzai Wazir-held areas, ousting Uzbek militants along with their local supporters. He survived a suicide attack in Wana bazaar last month. Earlier, he had survived a drone strike. Maulvi Nazir is the second top Taliban leader to be killed in a drone strike after Baitullah Mehsud, who was chief of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and met the same fate in 2009 when a drone targeted him, also killing his wife at his father-in-law’s residence.
He linked administration of polio vaccination to cessation of drone strikes and no polio drive could be launched in Ahmedzai Wazir areas since the ban in June last year. The Taliban commander did not strike any deal with the government. However, the Ahmedzai Wazir tribes extended him full support for keeping the areas safe against foreign and TTP militants.
Local authorities said a second drone strike targeted other militants, including banned TTP commander Faisal Khan and two Uzbek militants in Mir Ali region of bordering North Waziristan. Security agencies warned the government of likely backlash from the supporters of Maulvi Nazir. “There may be backlash from a Taliban group and the federal government should direct all provincial capitals to increase vigilance against any threat,” security officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon welcomed reports that Maluvi Nazir was killed in a drone strike, saying his death would represent a “major development.” Pentagon spokesman did not confirm the reports of the killing, but said, “If the reports are true, then this would be a significant blow, and would be very helpful not just to the United States but also to our Pakistani partners,” spokesman George Little told reporters. staff report/agenices