Taliban leader who signed peace deal wounded by bomber
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A suicide bomber wounded a senior Taliban commander and killed six people on Thursday in a market in a northwestern Pakistani region on the Afghan border, a spokesman for the commander and police said.
Maulvi Nazir Wazir, also known as Mullah Nazir, was wounded in the attack at the main market of Wana, the capital of the South Waziristan region. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack or the extent of Nazir's wounds.
The blast destroyed Nazir's vehicle, killed six people and wounded 12, said Maulana Amir Nawaz, a spokesman for Nazir.
"Nazir is a very important commander with support of his tribe," said Mansur Khan Mahsud, the director of research at the Islamabad-based FATA Research Centre.
Pakistan's semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are dominated by ethnic Pashtun tribes, some of which have sheltered and supported militants over decades of conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The al Qaeda-linked Nazir is an ally of the Afghan Taliban and had signed peace accord with the Pakistani government in 2007. His group has previously clashed with other Taliban fighters during a struggle for leadership.
Tribal elders say Nazir was more interested in attacking US forces in Afghanistan than Pakistan's security forces, a divisive issue within the Pakistani Taliban leadership. They said the government had even asked Nazir to help expel fighters who were bent on attacking Pakistani security forces.
Nazir had been running a secret campaign in recent weeks to push the Pakistani Taliban and foreign militants allied with them out of Wana and the surrounding areas, said intelligence officials.
Nawaz said the bomber appeared to be a 15 or 16-year-old boy.
"The moment the chief got out of his vehicle, the boy ran toward him and detonated the explosives,'' Nawaz told The Associated Press.
Pakistani security officials have at times referred to Nazir as one of several "good Taliban".
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