US drone strike kills senior Taliban commander Mullah Nazir

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Nazir favored attacking American forces in Afghanistan rather than Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan, a position that put him at odds with some other Pakistan Taliban commanders.

The Mullah was wounded in a bombing in November, widely believed to be the result of his rivalries with other Taliban commanders.

Shortly after the bombing his Wazir tribe told the Mehsud tribe, related to Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, to leave the area.

The Pakistani army has clawed back territory from the Taliban since launching a military offensive in 2009. Intensified drone strikes have also killed many senior Taliban leaders, including Mehsud’s predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, in 2009.

Drone strikes have dramatically increased since U.S. President Barack Obama took office. There were only five drone strikes in 2007, peaking at 117 in 2010, then down to 46 last year, according to Reuters.

Most of the strikes hit militants although civilians have also been killed. Rights groups say that some residents are so afraid of the strikes they don’t want to leave their homes.

It is difficult to verify civilian casualties because Taliban fighters often seal off the sites of drone strikes immediately.

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