PESHAWAR, Pakistan A pair of U.S. drone strikes in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border killed 13 people Thursday, including a senior militant commander who had a truce with the Pakistani military, intelligence officials and residents said.
Five Pakistani security officials said the commander, Maulvi Nazir, was reportedly among nine people killed in a missile strike on a house in the village of Angoor Adda in the South Waziristan tribal region early Thursday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Nazir's killing could prove to be a contentious issue between Washington and Islamabad, which is believed to have struck a nonaggression pact with Nazir ahead of the Pakistani military's 2009 operation against militants in South Waziristan.
Militants under Nazir's command focused their attacks on American forces in neighboring Afghanistan, earning the militant leader the enmity of the U.S. But Pakistan's military viewed Nazir and militant chiefs like him as key to keeping the peace internally because they do not attack Pakistani targets.
Residents in both Angoor Adda and Wana, the biggest town in South Waziristan, said they heard announcements on mosque loudspeakers announcing Nazir's death. One resident, Ajaz Khan, said by telephone that 5,000 to 10,000 people attended the funeral of Nazir and six other people in held in Angoor Adda.