|Thursday’s attack is the first since two weeks when another four fighters were killed west of Wana [Reuters]|
A suspected US drone attack has killed the brother and a close relative of Maulvi Nazir, a Pakistani Taliban commander, in South Waziristan, a tribal district along the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani officials say.
At least four armed men were killed and two others wounded on Thursday when four missiles struck a pick-up lorry travelling through Azam Warsak, 20km west of Wana, the main town of South Waziristan, which is known to house Pakistani Taliban fighters, officials told the AFP news agency.
The attack targeted members of the family of Nazir, who leads fighters in battles against US troops across the border in Afghanistan.
“Nazir’s younger brother Omar Wazir has been killed, it has been confirmed,” a Pakistani security official said.
Residents and security officials in the region described the 27-year-old as the operational head for the Nazir group, and a close aide of his brother.
He adopted a low profile, going to Afghanistan, assigning duties to the fighters and supervising logistic arrangements for their missions, they said.
The suspected drone attack is the first in nearly two weeks when another four fighters were killed in the mountains west of Wana.
Security officials said another close relative of Nazir was also among those killed in Thursday’s attack. His exact relation was not immediately clear.
The latest attack comes nearly a week after Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, visited Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, accompanied by high-level US military and intelligence officials.
Clinton urged Pakistan to eliminate what Washington says are safe havens along its porous border with Afghanistan.
The New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank, estimates at least 325 armed men have been killed in US drone attacks in Pakistan this year.