Profile: The ‘good’ Taliban leader

Published: January 4, 2013
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Nazir, who enjoyed support from both locals and the government, drove the Uzbek militants out of Wana and its adjoining areas. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Nazir, who enjoyed support from both locals and the government, drove the Uzbek militants out of Wana and its adjoining areas. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PESHAWAR: 

Mullah Nazir was largely seen as a pro-government or ‘good’ Taliban. Hailing from the Kaka Khel sub-tribe of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe, he was born in 1975 in Angor Adda (Birmal), Paktika in Afghanistan.

In his earlier years, Nazir studied at a religious seminary in Birmal and later on with Maulana Noor Muhammad at Darul Uloom Waziristan in Wana. He joined the Taliban movement in 1996, fighting against Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance. He followed in the footsteps of his father Abdul Salam, who took part in the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets between 1979 and 1989. Like most students from Darul Uloom Waziristan, he also remained a worker of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl.

After the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in late 2001, Nazir returned to Wana and became actively involved in support of al Qaeda and Taliban activities in South Waziristan. In the following year, when the Pakistan Army launched operations against militancy in Wana, he fought alongside al Qaeda and Taliban militants, and figured among persons most wanted by the government.

He was arrested by security forces in 2004, only to be released later under the Shakai deal, signed between Nek Mohammad and the Pakistan Army.

Between 2006 and 2007, Nazir assumed command of his own Taliban outfit, but largely remained dormant. By subsequently, he cemented his position as a powerful Taliban commander, setting up training camps and al Qaeda safe houses across Wana. He established an office at Wana’s Rustom Bazaar which doubled as a Shariah court.

The same year, Nazir’s outfit became embroiled in a conflict against Uzbek militants in Wana. Nazir, who enjoyed support from both locals and the government, drove the Uzbek militants out of Wana and its adjoining areas. Subsequently, Nazir became the sole Taliban leader in Wana and established a six-member shura, which he headed himself. In this role, he was largely considered much more moderate than previous Taliban leaders in the region.

Nazir had been targeted four times earlier – twice by US drones and once by an improvised explosive device and a suicide attacker.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Usman
    Jan 4, 2013 - 5:38AM

    Drone strike followed by a quick press conference by the US to re-instate the point that Mullah Nazir was a terrorists. Pakistani Media and ISPR, take note, this is how various organs of a country work in synchrony to win a war.

    Here, we are quoting press releases from Washington, our ISPR is silent and our media has no substance to print other that regurgitate what’s coming out of foreign newspapers..
    .
    This was a golden opportunity by our media and ISPR to bring to light the fact that Mullah Nazir was a hard core enemy of the TTP. His death will fan more extremism violence against Pakistani citizens and the army. His tribal force had held the TTP at bay in South Waziristan. Drone attacks hardly ever target militant groups that are pro-TTP ,showing a clear bias against the people of Pakistan, who are being kept ignorant of the true nature of the drone war..
    .
    In addition, certain quarters of the media have been trying to push the agenda that ‘all militants are the same’, which is completely counter productive and is far removed from the truth. The best way to break the back of militants is to use pro-Pakistani tribals (who are Pakistani citizens mind you) to tame the terrorists. This does not mean denying the fact that there are many ignorant Pakistani extremists who have moral support for the TTP. That needs to be tackled as well.
    .
    Is that too hard to understand or digest? It’s about time we learnt more about our own war.

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  • Jan 4, 2013 - 7:28AM

    @Usman: “The best way to break the back of militants is to use pro-Pakistani tribals (who are Pakistani citizens mind you) to tame the terrorists. This does not mean denying the fact that there are many ignorant Pakistani extremists who have moral support for the TTP”

    Extremists are Muslim first and thereafter Pakistani or afghan…It is the Islamic radical ideology which drives them. Army has supported Taliban to use them against soviets and later they were out of their control. It is foolish to repeat the same mistake ..

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  • IceSoul
    Jan 4, 2013 - 7:29AM

    @Usman: It doesn’t matter to the US that he was anti-TTP. All that matters is that he was attacking US forces across the border. Its sad that Pakistan still hasn’t given up its policy of nurturing “good” Taliban. Also, please don’t forget that he was anti-TTP for his own sake, not for yours or mine.

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  • roadkashehzada
    Jan 4, 2013 - 8:06AM

    people say there is no good or bad taliban, all are same. at a time when pakistan is releasing afghanistan’s good taliban, and pakistani bad taliban are talking about negotiations, US is killing pakistan’s good taliban. just like US sabotaged the negotiations by killing naik muhammad when he was getting close to pakistani establishment.

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  • John B
    Jan 4, 2013 - 9:03AM

    @Usman:
    His targeting is a signal to PAK that US is no longer going to tolerate the good Taliban and bad Taliban thesis. He may be a favorite of PAK but he is certainly not in good books with US and the story ends here.

    If PAK thinks his death might trigger resurgence of TTP activities then PAK army is an incapable fighting force , since as one man Nazir was able to restrain TTP by the logic being propagated here.

    I believe that PAK is cutting loose of her Taliban affiliates that she was amassing for years for better days due to change in political climate.

    Haqqani next?

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  • Praful R Shah
    Jan 4, 2013 - 9:20AM

    Those who live by sword, die by sword. He went to meet Allah.

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  • Bee
    Jan 4, 2013 - 9:56AM

    Lets unleash these good Taliban against the bad thing happening…

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  • kanwal
    Jan 4, 2013 - 12:19PM

    What a mess has been made in this region of Pakistan.

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  • Jan 4, 2013 - 6:20PM

    “when the Pakistan Army launched operations against militancy in Wana, he fought alongside al Qaeda and Taliban militants, and figured among persons most wanted by the government.”
    Now he is being counted as GOOD Taliban. Strange.? As long as this good taliban theory will exist in Pakistan trrorism can never be eradicated from it’s soil.

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  • Randomstranger
    Jan 4, 2013 - 7:38PM

    @Praful.R Shah:

    At least be respectful to a religion.

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  • Anwarzebbacha
    Jan 5, 2013 - 8:10AM

    its very easy to watch wars and comment.
    [bacha

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  • sajjad
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:09PM

    As long as America is in control of the muslim goverments there can never be peace in these countries

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