The first disclosed unmanned drone strike of 2013 killed top Taliban leader Mullah Nazir as he reportedly met with senior leaders of his group in South Waziristan early Thursday morning, security officials say.

Residents and an intelligence official told a local journalist that either six or 10 people were killed in the attack. Fatality figures are difficult to determine, however, because militants usually prevent journalists from visiting places hit by drones.

Under a sort of truce negotiated with other militant groups in early 2012, Nazir had promised not to attack Pakistani soldiers or government facilities, an agreement that critics of Pakistan say gave him official protection in the country. Nazir instead focused his attacks on Afghan government forces and NATO in Afghanistan.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

Imtiaz Gul, a leading security analyst, said that despite the non-aggression deal the Pakistani state was likely to privately welcome his demise because he had long sheltered government enemies.

“Both the US and Pakistan will be happy because they now have one less enemy,” he said. “Although he was in an undeclared peace deal with the government, he was also subverting the stated goals of that agreement by providing support and shelter to al-Qaida people whose leaders have pleaded with the rank and file of the Pakistani army to rebel against the state.”

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