Top Taliban commander injured in Pak suicide attack
Islamabad: Pro-government Taliban commander Mullah Nazir was injured when a suicide bomber targeted his vehicle in South Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan on Thursday, killing seven persons and injuring 14 more, officials said.
The bomber detonated his explosives when Nazir's car was passing through a market in Wana, the largest town in South Waziristan Agency.
Assistant Political Agent Shahid Ali Khan, a senior official of the local administration, said three of Nazir's bodyguards and two children were among the dead.
The suicide bomber was inside a public call office (PCO) in the market and blew himself up as Nazir's car passed by, Khan said.
Nazir sustained minor injuries, he said.
The injured, some of them in a critical condition, were taken to a nearby state-run hospital.
Nazir's vehicle, two other cars and several shops were damaged by the powerful blast.
Security forces cordoned off the area and started relief operations.
The explosion, heard from several kilometres away, created panic among the people.
Reports from the region said the bomber was a teenager.
The reports also said the blast was followed by intense firing.
Nazir finalised a peace deal with the Pakistani military in 2007 but his group has been accused of sending militants across the border to fight foreign forces in Afghanistan.
His fighters have been targeted by US drones several times and Nazir's brother was killed in a missile strike in October last year.
South Waziristan is mainly under the control of the Mehsud and Wazir tribes. The Mehsud areas are under the influence of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commander Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud. The Wazir areas are under the control of Nazir.
Nazir is at odds with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Uzbek militants whom he ejected from South Waziristan some years ago.