- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Pakistan says U.S. drones kill senior Taliban figure
Question of the Day
The Taliban is a widely diverse group. The Afghan Taliban is made up mostly of Afghans who fight against U.S. and NATO troops. In Pakistan the group has been divided with some fighting the Pakistani government because of its support for the U.S. Other Taliban groups in Pakistan, such as Nazir‘s, focus their energies on fighting American and NATO troops in Afghanistan but have a truce with the Pakistani military.
Nazir, who was believed to be about 40 years old, had property in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. He used to be a member of Hizb-e-Islami, a militant Islamist group run by former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The group has thousands of fighters and followers across the north and east of Afghanistan.
Nazir had survived several assassination attempts including at least two previous American drone strikes.
In November, a suicide bomber tried to kill him as he was arriving at an office where he used to meet with local residents and hear their complaints. Nazir and more than a dozen other people were wounded in the attack, and seven were killed.
No group claimed responsibility, but suspicion immediately fell on rival militants including the head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), Hakimullah Mehsud, who had been jockeying with Nazir for power in South Waziristan. The TTP is an umbrella group of militants formed to oust the Pakistani government and install a hardline Islamist regime. They have been behind much of the violence tearing apart Pakistan in recent years.
Nazir’s non-aggression pact with the Pakistani military allowed the army to launch a massive operation in South Waziristan against the TTP which displaced more than 800,000 people and drove Hakimullah Mehsud from the region.
In retaliation for the assassination attempt, Nazir expelled members of the Hakimullah’s Mehsud tribe from Wana. Nazir was meeting with supporters to discuss how to deal with the TTP when the missiles struck on Wednesday night, said Mehsud from the FATA center.
Nazir’s group quickly appointed his close aide Bawal Khan as a replacement, according to one of Nazir’s commanders. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
But it remains to be seen what the new leader’s policies will be and whether the tension with the TTP could lead to a power struggle in the region.
“Trouble will follow,” said Mehsud.
The former chief of intelligence in northwest Pakistan, retired brigadier Asad Munir, said Nazir’s killing will complicate the fight against militants in the tribal region, and could prompt Nazir’s group to carry out retaliatory attacks against the Pakistani army in South Waziristan.
It will also raise questions among military commanders here who would like the U.S. to use its firepower against the Pakistani Taliban, which attacks domestic targets, and not against militants like Nazir who aren’t seen as posing as much of a threat to the state, Munir said.
Drone strikes have been on the rise during Obama’s presidency.
According to the Long War Journal, which tracks drone strikes, there were 35 strikes in Pakistan during 2008, the last year President George W. Bush was in office.
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq