Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Asia Times Online - The best news coverage from South Asia

Asia Times Online - The best news coverage from South Asia: "The legacy of
Nek Mohammed
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - The name of Nek Mohammed made international headlines in the middle of last month when the charismatic former Taliban commander was killed in a Pakistani army raid near Wana, the district headquarters of the South Waziristan tribal area.

Nek was a key figure in the area, acting as a rallying point for the Afghan resistance, and as a procurer and facilitator for the many foreign and al-Qaeda fighters sheltered in the region.

Nek was a wanted man, and his death marked a significant victory for Islamabad, which is under relentless pressure from Washington to get rid of the foreign militants from the sensitive Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas from where they have declared war on US interests in Afghanistan. The foreigners include Arabs, Chechens and Chinese Muslims who have set up base camps in remote areas.

By killing Nek, though, the authorities have not been able to erase his legacy and the profound influence he has had in the area.

Nek Mohammed belonged to the Ahmed Zai Wazir tribe's sub-clan, the Yargul Khai. He received his early education at an Islamic school run by Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam leader Maulana Noor Mohammed. Nek's father, Nawaz Khan, was a tribal elite and owned property in the village of Kalosha, South Waziristan, close to the Afghanistan border.

From childhood Nek showed a tough, rigid personality, which resulted in him being expelled from the Islamic school. He joined a regular school and fared much better, before being admitted to a college run by Pashtun nationalists, the Pakhtunkho Awami Party.

He never completed schooling, though, and started a general store in Wana's main bazaar. At this time, the region was under... "


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