Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Pak Taliban chief, Maulana Fazlullah killed in USA drone strike in Afghanistan

Pak Taliban chief, Maulana Fazlullah killed in USA drone strike in Afghanistan

President Ashraf Ghani confirmed Friday that Pakistani Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah has been killed in a USA drone strike.

KABUL, Afghanistan A USA drone strike in northeastern Kunar province killed Pakistan Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah, the insurgent leader who ordered the assassination of Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai, an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said American forces conducted a counter-terrorism strike close to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that targeted a "senior leader of a designated terrorist organization".

The Associated Press reported, however, that Sakhi Mashwani, a lawmaker from Konar province, said Fazlullah and five other insurgents were killed when the US drone strike hit a vehicle in which they were riding.

Earlier in 2018, the US State Department issued a $5 million reward for information leading to arrest of the TTP leader.

TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah.

Atta-ul-Rahman Salim, deputy head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, said Taliban fighters from across the country were reportedly entering into government controlled areas to visit their families "and they were being welcomed by government security forces".

Pakistan has often asked U.S. and Afghan forces to take action against TTP men living on the Afghan side of the volatile Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where they fled following a series of military operations by Pakistan.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai speaks during an interview with Reuters at a local hotel in Islamabad on March 30.

Like many other Pakistani militants, Khorasani had crossed into Afghanistan after the Pakistani army launched a major military offensive in the Swat Valley in 2009. Fazlullah eventually married Sufi Muhammad's daughter and emerged as the central figure in TNSM after its former leader was arrested by Pakistani forces when he tried to re-enter Pakistan following a brief clash with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan.

He said: "This attack shows that there is now an inclination in United States policy towards Pakistan, which could further improve the security situation". He was known as Mullah Radio for his fiery broadcasts.

In 2012, a Pakistani Taliban gunman shot Malala Yousafzai, a teenager who had been calling for more educational opportunities for girls.

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. Islamabad says the Pakistani Taliban maintains sanctuaries in neighboring Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Kabul and Washington both complain that Pakistan has for years allowed Afghanistan's Taliban free movement as well as medical treatment for battlefield wounds.

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