A Taliban commander and five of his colleagues were killed in a bomb explosion near a border village of Wana in South Waziristan.
Commander Ghulam Jan, accompanied by his bodyguards, was returning from Shah Alam Bazaar and heading towards his home in Manra at the time of the attack. Jan and his colleagues died on the spot.
It was not clear whether the explosion was caused by a landmine or his vehicle was booby-trapped, a security official told The Express Tribune. No one has so far claimed responsibility for the killing.
Ghulam Jan, 44, was a member of the Ghani Khel tribe, a sub-clan of the Zale Khel Wazir, and a resident of the most backward area of Wana, called Shah Alam. He was largely unlettered and had reportedly been involved in robberies and other crimes before al Qaeda and Taliban groups gained ascendancy in the area.
Jan had neither participated in the Afghan jihad against Soviet occupation (1979-1989) nor had he ever been associated with the deposed Taliban regime.
Jan rose to prominence soon after becoming a Taliban leader. He served as an active facilitator of al Qaeda primarily for monetary interests. Tahir Yuldashev, the late leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, was said to be with him when members of the terror outfit crossed over into the tribal areas after the US-led coalition forces attacked Afghanistan in 2001.
Ghulam Jan was not an active commander, according to some reports. As per the terms of a secret deal with the Mulla Nazeer Group, Jan was sidelined and barred from taking part in militant activities. But sources told The Express Tribune that he had links with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The Taliban commander was believed to be involved in kidnapping cases. The 53-year-old Canadian freelance journalist Khadija Abdul Qahar, kidnapped for ransom, had been in his custody. On April 1, 2009, a final deadline was extended by her kidnappers. In a video clip made public, Khadija said she was ill and needed urgent treatment. She later died in confinement, according to Taliban sources.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2013.