Taliban warlord killed in drone strike

Taliban warlord killed in drone strike

Taliban warlord killed in drone strike

Updated 3 January 2013, 19:08 AEST

A United States drone strike has killed a Taliban commander, his deputy and eight others in northern Pakistan, according to intelligence and tribal sources.

A United States drone strike has killed a Taliban commander, his deputy and eight others in northern Pakistan, according to intelligence and tribal sources.

Maulvi Nazir Wazir, also known as Mullah Nazir, was killed on Wednesday night (local time) when missiles struck a house in South Waziristan near the Afghan border.

His deputy, Ratta Khan, was also killed.

Nazir favoured attacking US forces in Afghanistan rather than Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan, a position that put him at odds with other Pakistan Taliban commanders.

Commander of the Wazir tribe, Nazir was wounded in a bombing in November widely believed to be as a result of his rivalries with other Taliban leaders.

Nazir was understood to be close to the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, a faction of the Afghan Taliban blamed for some of the most high-profile attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan in recent years.

He was an enemy of Uzbek militants in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and was in 2007 congratulated by Pakistan for expelling Uzbek and other foreign Al Qaeda-linked militants from South Waziristan.

In April 2007 he gave a rare press conference at which he said he had never met Osama bin Laden but would protect him if asked.

Intensified drone strikes have killed many senior Taliban leaders as the Pakistani army has clawed back territory from the Taliban since launching a military offensive in 2009.

Drone strikes have dramatically increased since US president Barack Obama took office, increasing from just five drone strikes in 2007, peaking at 117 in 2010, then down to 46 last year.

Data collected from news reports by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism say between 2,600 and 3,404 Pakistanis have been killed by drones, of which 473 to 889 were reported to be civilians.

Reuters

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