Afghanistan: Taliban leader killed in US drone strike

Pakistani Taliban accuses Afghan intelligence service of providing information for this strike

Afghanistan: Taliban leader killed in US drone strike

World Bulletin / News Desk

A notorious leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Afghan province of Kunar, officials and local media confirmed on Friday.

Hailing from Pakistan’s Swat district, the Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader is believed to have been operating from his hideouts in the forests of eastern Afghanistan since 2009.

Mohammad Radmanesh, deputy Defense Ministry spokesman in Kabul, told Anadolu Agency that Fazlullah -- wanted under the U.S. State Department's Rewards for Justice since this March -- was killed in a drone strike carried out two days ago.

In a statement released by the TTP, the group acknowledged its leader had been killed. The terrorist group accused Afghan intelligence service NDS – long suspected by Pakistan of harboring Fazlullah – of providing information for the U.S. hit.

Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman, also confirmed the strike, telling local TOLO news: "U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike, June 13, in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization.”

The news follows a meeting between Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan's powerful army chief, and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday during a visit to Kabul amid renewed efforts for resuming the peace process. Leading a delegation, Bajwa landed in Kabul on the first day of a landmark cease-fire declared by the government against the Taliban.

Pakistani Taliban sources also confirmed Fazlullah’s death, saying a detailed statement would be issued within hours.

Fazlullah was chosen TTP chief in 2013 following the death of his predecessor Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike in North Waziristan. Also known as Mullah Radio for his fiery broadcast speeches, Fazlullah fled to Afghanistan in 2010 after the Pakistani army launched a large-scale onslaught on his Tehrik Nizaf-e-Sharia’h Mohammadi (TNSM) or Movement for Enforcement of Sharia’h in the Swat valley.

Apart from numerous terrorist attacks on Pakistani forces and civilians, he is also considered the mastermind of the 2014 massacre of over 140 children at an army-run school in Peshawar.

Pakistani media called his death the “end of a terrorist era”.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Haziran 2018, 10:55