Mullah Nazir, a senior Taliban leader whose writ ran across large swathes of South Waziristan, was killed in a U.S. drone attack on Thursday. Though there was no official confirmation, local media reports from the remote area quoted security personnel and Taliban leaders confirming his death.
According to Dawn.com, Nazir was killed along with five of his companions near Wana, the main town of the tribal agency bordering Afghanistan. The report quoted Taliban leaders stating that he had been buried. Nazir, who had been injured in a suicide bomb attack in November, was regarded as pro-Pakistan as he trained all his guns on foreign troops in Afghanistan.
Though no organisation took responsibility for the November attempt on his life, Nazir had made several enemies among the various terrorist groups in the tribal areas because of his pro-Pakistan stance. He had helped security forces expel Uzbek terrorists of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan from the Ahmedzai Wazir area of South Waziristan.
He also had a running feud with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan which was both turf war for control over South Waziristan and tribal rivalry.
While Nazir was an Ahmedzai Wazir, the TTP is predominantly Mehsud. Following the suicide attack on him, Nazir had ordered all Mehsuds to leave the area within a few days.
Since Nazir used to provide safe havens to Taliban fighters from Afghanistan, he has been targeted by drones in the past. And, despite his pro-Pakistan stance, Nazir had ordered a boycott of the polio immunisation campaign last year on the premise that it was a cover for western powers to spy on the tribals. Recently, in a bid to stop people from listening to Hindi film songs and women being photographed, he had banned the use of mobile phones with in-built cameras and memory cards in areas under his control.
Not only was he closely allied to the Afghan Taliban, Nazir considered himself a member of the al-Qaeda. He said so in an interview to Asia Times Online in 2011 amid reports that he was opposed to the al-Qaeda. Analysts fear that his death could result in unrest in the tribal agency as various groups jostle to fill the leadership vacuum.