Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tensions in South Waziristan

This is VERY interesting. Maulana Noor Muhammed, a founding member of the JUI (an old-school Pakistani militant group)and influential cleric in South Waziristan was blown up today. He was notably against the involvement of central asian militant groups in the insurgency inside Afghanistan. I'm wondering if the Uzbeks are making a power move.

From AFP and Dawn.com (September 21, 2010):

WANA / PARACHINAR: Thirty-two people, a former parliamentarian among them, were killed and at least 42 others injured in two terrorist attacks in tribal areas on Monday.

In the South Waziristan town of Wana, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the seminary of Maulana Noor Mohammad, former MNA of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) from Fata, killing the cleric and 24 others, local people said.

Thirty-six people were injured and five of them who had suffered critical injuries were airlifted to Rawalpindi.

An eyewitness said Maulana Noor Mohmmad was about to leave the Jamia mosque near Wana bazaar after Zohr prayers when a boy in his teens approached him to shake hands.

At that moment a huge blast took place. The mosque was badly damaged. People rushed to the seminary to rescue the injured and retrieve bodies from the rubble.

Official sources said the head and legs of the suicide bomber had been found.

Maulana Noor Mohammad was elected to the National Assembly in 1997 from South Waziristan.

He was an influential figure and brokered several deals between Taliban militants and the local administration. He was reported to have opposed the presence of Uzbek militants in the tribal region.

Our correspondent in Parachinar adds: Seven people were killed and six others wounded when an improvised explosive device planted near a government school exploded at a time when a jirga of elders of Khomasa area of Kurram tribal region was in progress.

The jirga was held to sort out a dispute between two groups over the ownership of the school. The powerful blast made a three to four feet crater.

The Assistant Political Agent of Kurram said the blast might have been caused by a time-bomb.

An eyewitness reported seeing thick smoke billowing from the place after the explosion and people running towards the area. Seven bodies lay on the ground while the injured cried for help.

Administration personnel cordoned off the area and launched search operation. No group claimed responsibility for any of the explosions till Monday evening.


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