Drone Strike Kills Top Taliban Commander

PHOTO: Pakistani militant commander Maulvi Nazir meets his associates in South Waziristan, Pakistan near the Afghani border, April, 20, 2007.
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A top Taliban commander who targeted U.S. troops in Afghanistan was killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan along with nine of his comrades, intelligence and local sources confirm to ABC News.

The Taliban leader, Maulvi Nazir, died in an attack on a compound in Angoor Ada, a border town in South Waziristan, Pakistan.

Nazir was a powerful and undisputed leader of the Wazir tribe of Waziristan and told ABC News in 2009 that his forces were intent on killing American troops.

"We have readied suicide bombers for them, they cannot escape us," Nazir said in the exclusive interview.

Nazir was in power in 2002 when Islamic fighters from various countries converged on South Waziristan to escape the U.S. bombing in Afghanistan. He rose to prominence, however, in 2007 after he successfully defeated and evicted fighters of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan from South Waziristan.

Nazir opposed fighting Pakistani government forces and concentrated on attacking NATO and Afghan forces across the border in neighboring Afghanistan. That policy put him at odds with a faction led by Hakeemullah Mehsud, the commander of the Taliban movement of Pakistan and disrupted an alliance the two had made.

After a failed suicide attack on his life, Nazir ordered all the Mehsud tribesmen to leave the area under his command.

Analysts say that his death will leave a significant impact on his followers and South Waziristan. He had led them right from the beginning.

"The area can erupt in violence," says retired brigadier general Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief in North Western Pakistan.

Peace in the region may also depend on what choice Nazir's successor will make, whether to keep the focus of his fighting in Afghanistan or turn his guns internally on the Pakistani military, like the rest of the Taliban factions.

One thing is for sure that "his followers will not take this lying down," says Munir.

Nazir was buried this morning in Azam Warsak and a replacement has already been chosen.

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