‘Pro-government’ Taliban group threatens Pakistani military

South Waziristan Taliban leader Mullah Nazir. Click to view.

A senior lieutenant loyal part of the so-called “pro-government Taliban” in South Waziristan threatened to attack Pakistani security forces in South Waziristan if US airstrikes against Taliban and al Qaeda leaders did not cease.

Commander Naubahar, a Taliban leader under Mullah Nazir, said the Nov. 22 US airstrike on a Taliban safe house in South Waziristan that killed eight people must be avenged. The Pakistani military is responsible for the US attacks as it is not protecting the tribes.

“He said they were left with no other option but to pick up arms against Pakistani security forces,” The News reported. “Commander Naubahar argued they did not fight against their armed forces. Therefore, he said, it was [the Pakistani military’s] responsibility to protect them against foreign aggression.”

The US military has conducted numerous strikes in Mullah Nazir’s tribal areas in Wana and along the Afghan border in South Waziristan. Nazir himself was wounded in one of the strikes that targeted a meeting near Wana that was attended by Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Yuldashev’s status is still unknown.

Nazir is a rival to Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. He ejected a group of Uzbeks from the al Qaeda-allied Islamic Jihad Union from the Wana region in 2007. This action caused the media to describe Nazir as “pro-government Taliban,” a perception the Pakistani government wishes to promote. The government signed a peace agrement with Nazir in mid-October.

But Nazir openly supports al Qaeda and its leadership. He admitted he would provide shelter to senior al Qaeda leaders. “How can I say no to any request from Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar under tribal traditions, if they approach me to get shelter?” Nazir asked the Pakistani press in the spring of 2007.

Al Qaeda runs terror camps inside Nazir’s tribal areas and helps to finance his operations. Nazir’s forces fight against Afghan and Coalition forces inside Afghanistan.

The US has stepped up its aerial campaign against al Qaeda and Taliban camps in Pakistan’s northwest this year. There have been 36 recorded cross-border attacks this year, compared to 10 strikes total in the prior two years.

The strikes are is aimed at disrupting al Qaeda’s ability to attack the West. US intelligence believes the next attack launched against the West will originate from this, where al Qaeda operates 157 known training camps. Al Qaeda has been training terrorists holding Western passports to conduct attacks, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • tsalfabet says:

    the airstrikes must be awfully effective for Nazir to complain like this

  • KW64 says:

    Reminds me of the kid who complains to his mother that his brother hit him back.

  • jeandon says:

    tsalfabet has it just right. Nazir’s whining confirms the effectiveness of our attacks. They should be increased.

  • crosspatch says:

    I read this as an desperate act because it makes no sense. If the attacks are hurting them, then why would they threaten to take an action that would bring even more attacks on them?
    It just doesn’t seem very well thought out. So what happens if the attacks don’t stop and someone else, say an enemy of Mullah Nazir attacks a Pakistani military unit to make it look like it was Nazir? And what if Nazir actually ordered something like this and the Pakistani army retaliated? It just seems that in either case, Nazir is worse off than if he had taken a different approach.
    It looks to me as if they believe intimidation is the only card they have left to play and that is generally one of the last cards in the deck because if they play it and it doesn’t win, they are hollow from that point forward.
    Doesn’t sound to me like they are having a very good winter season there in Taliban land.

  • referman says:

    Keeping al qaeda on the run I feel is why the free world can breath a little relief.The pakistan government should decide what side of the fence they would like to be on.They cannot give aid and comfort to our enemies and claim to be a close alli.It is becoming very clear alot of these terrorist attacks originate from pakistan and their training camps.With the forecasted increase in troops to Afghanistan you can bet the airstrikes will get more intense.Thus the pakistan government will be coming under more pressure by AQ and Taliban leaders.If Nazir is set on supporting Bin then he should be smart enough to know his place could be a future site for a 2000 pounder.

  • DrMack says:

    The missile strikes will stop when DARPA completes development of this more effective tool for hunting Taliban. Imagine a “pack” of these armed with anti-personnel ordinance dropped into a kill zone by a couple of C-130s, all under the real-time guidance of operators sitting in air conditioned vans several hundred miles away or perhaps even on the other side of the globe like the Reapers are now.


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