A key Taliban leader, Mullah Nazir, was injured in a suicide attack in the Wana town of South Waziristan on Thursday. The attack, which killed six others, was confirmed by Nazir’s spokesman to Dawn.com.
According to the spokesman, Nazir was injured when a teenaged suicide bomber rammed his hand-cart packed with explosives into a vehicle carrying members of the Taliban leader’s group in Rustam Bazaar. Nazir survived the attack because he had already stepped out of the vehicle and was heading towards a building nearby.
Nazir is said to have a non-aggression pact with the Pakistan Army but regularly sends men to help the Afghan Taliban attack coalition forces stationed there.
No group had claimed responsibility for the attack till late on Thursday but the needle of suspicion points towards the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Uzbek terrorists of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who had been forced out of the Ahmedzai Wazir area of the tribal agency by Nazir. He also has a running feud with the TTP, which is both a turf war for control over South Waziristan and tribal rivalry. The TTP is predominantly Mehsud while Nazir’s group is primarily Wazir.
Since the Taliban itself is splintered, rivalries are commonplace and this is not the first time that Nazir has been targeted. The U.S. has also been targeting Nazir and his fighters with drone attacks.
In a related development, U.S. drones visited South Waziristan later in the day; targeting a vehicle about 20 km from Wana. Security personnel say no was killed in the attack. This is the first drone attack since the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama under whom these attacks multiplied.