LADHA, Nov 29: Pro-government Taliban ‘commander’ Mullah Mohammad Nazir survived a suicide attack in which at least eight people were killed and 18 injured in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan tribal region, on Thursday.
According to witnesses, the explosion took place when Mullah Nazir was going towards his car after attending a meeting of a ‘peace committee’ in his office in Rustam Bazaar.
His spokesman Maulana Amir Nawaz told reporters that the militant leader, who was the target of the attack, suffered minor injuries on his face and legs. He was taken to a local private hospital.
According to sources, the bomber rammed his motorcycle into the parked car of Mullah Nazir.
His supporters started firing after the explosion. The injured were taken to the agency headquarters hospital where five of them were in a critical condition.
At least 10 shops were damaged.
Two activists of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan were shot dead in Wana Bazaar after the attack, the sources said.
According to unconfirmed reports, TTP supporters were also attacked in Karo Kot area.
Mullah Nazir had earlier survived a drone strike and a suicide attack.
He had carried out an armed campaign against Uzbek and other militant groups in collaboration with the security forces in 2007 to expel anti-government elements from South Waziristan areas dominated by the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe.
Like Hafiz Gul Bahadur in North Waziristan, he had also signed a peace agreement with the government and both have been facing problems in maintaining their influence in their territories.
Gul Bahadur raised a lashkar in Miramshah last week in cooperation with local tribal elders to eliminate anti-government elements from the area and stop attacks on security personnel and kidnapping of people.
DRONE STRIKE: A US drone fired missiles on a vehicle near Wana, killing three people and injuring an Arab national, sources said.
Two missiles were fired at the vehicle in Shin Warsak area, about 10km west of Wana. AFP adds: Mullah Nazir’s spokesman said a driver and an associate of his were among those killed.
Militants sealed off the scene immediately after the attack in the main market of Wana.
The spokesman said the bomber was aged between 12 and 15 and had used a wheelbarrow for the attack.
Saifullah Mahsud, executive director of the Fata Research Centre, a think-tank focused on the tribal belt, said Mullah Nazir and Gul Bahadur were very close to the Haqqani militant network of Afghanistan.