Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Good Taliban, Bad Taliban? Pakistani commander's killing exposes blurry lines

Analysts say the US drone killing of a 'Good Taliban' commander in Pakistan could unleash new violence by anti-government insurgents - or undo peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

By Correspondent / January 3, 2013

Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir speaks during a news conference in Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan in this April 2007 file photo. Nazir was traveling in a car in troubled South Waziristan, Thursday, when his vehicle was hit by a missile, according to media reports.

Alamgir Bitani/Reuters/File


Islamabad, Pakistan

The US drone killing of Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir threatens to unleash new anti-government violence against the country’s weak government or civilian targets, and expose fractures in the country’s military and security forces, analysts say.

Skip to next paragraph

Mr. Nazir was traveling in a car in troubled South Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan, Thursday, when his vehicle was hit by a missile, according to media reports. He and six other Pakistanis believed to be militants were killed.

The attacks highlight the convoluted interconnections among insurgent factions in Pakistan, some of whom are focused on fighting US forces in Afghanistan, others of whom seek to topple Pakistan’s government. Still other groups target Indian forces. Many of the factions are backed or financed by military and intelligence agencies in Pakistan, who have differing agendas themselves.

The killing was confirmed by Pakistani intelligence officials in the nearby city of Peshawar who spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Mr. Nazir, who survived a suicide attack in November reputedly organized by rival Taliban commanders, was considered to be pro-government, a rare stance among Pakistani Taliban. He had agreed in the past to restrain his fighters from targeting Pakistani government forces, instead focusing efforts on the Taliban-led anti-US insurgency in Afghanistan. That had led some to label him a “good" Taliban.

With his killing, however, some analysts say his successor and followers may now turn their guns on civilian and military targets within Pakistan.


  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!