A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s South Waziristan agency killed senior Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir on January 2, 2013. Nazir’s death is significant and represents the biggest shake up of the Pakistani Taliban’s leadership in years. His death may also negatively affect Pakistan’s war against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the principal enemy of the state.
Killed on the Third Try
According to some reports, Maulvi Nazir was driving on the night of January 2 from Birmal village in South Waziristan agency to Wana, the agency headquarters, when his vehicle developed a fault. Nazir was changing vehicles in Sara Kanda when a U.S. drone struck his vehicle, killing him and between five and nine of his companions. Nazir’s deputy, Rata Khan was also killed in the strike, as were two other deputies, Attaullah and Rafey Khan, according to one report. Differing accounts claim Nazir was killed in a strike on a house in Angoor Adda, a town straddling the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
News of Nazir’s death was spread over mosque megaphones in Wana, and the main Wana bazaar was shut down. Nazir was buried on January 3 in the nearby town of Azam Warsak where as many as 10,000 people reportedly attended his funeral.
Nazir had previously survived two other drone strikes, one in January 2008 in which he was wounded and one in October 2011 in which his younger brother and a deputy were killed. Nazir was also wounded in a suicide bombing on November 29, 2012 in an attack believed to have been planned by Hakimullah Mehsud’s TTP.
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