Drone kills ‘good’ Taliban leader

International

Pakistani pro-government warlord Mullah Nazir and his deputy were among 16 Taliban killed Thursday in the restive Waziristan tribal region in two separate US drone strikes, the first this year.

Nazir, his deputy Ratta Khan, commanders Agha Khan Wazir and Allauddin Wazir and nine more militants were killed when a CIA-operated spy plane targeted a vehicle in Angoor Adda area of South Waziristan Agency early Thursday morning.

Security officials were quoted by the Pakistani media as saying Nazir was killed in the strike.

Local Taliban commanders and officials of the political administration too confirmed the killing of Nazir to Dawn News. Officials and tribesmen said Nazir was heading to Wana, the main town of South Waziristan, when his vehicle was attacked.

Residents of Angoor Adda and Wana said announcements about Nazir's death were made on the loudspeakers of mosques. His funeral was later held at Warsak, local residents said.

Mullah Nazir, also known as Maulvi Nazir Wazir, had signed a peace deal with Pakistani security forces in 2007 and was the top militant commander in South Waziristan. He was considered to be among the "good" Taliban as he preferred attacking US and allied forces in Afghanistan instead of Pakistani troops.

Hours after the attack that killed Nazir, three fighters of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan were killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency. Commander Faisal Khan and two Uzbek fighters were among the dead.

Earlier reports had said four militants were killed in this attack. These were the first drone strikes of the new year.

The US has continued its drone campaign in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan despite protests from Pakistan, which says the attacks are counter-productive and a violation of its sovereignty.

Security analysts said the killing of Nazir could prompt his fighters to launch attacks on Pakistani security forces.

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