Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Pakistani Taliban chief allegedly killed in United States drone strike

Pakistani Taliban chief allegedly killed in United States drone strike

Confirming the drone strike, Lieutenant Colonel Martin O'Donnell, spokesperson for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, said they had targeted "a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization", without offering further details or confirmation of the TTP chief's death.

A USA official said the US believes that it is likely the strike killed Fazlullah, but efforts are ongoing to confirm his death.

US holds him responsible for December 2014 attack on Army Public School in Pakistan that killed 130 school children.

The TPP was also deemed responsible for the October 2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai, who later won the Nobel Prize and became a global symbol of the fight for the education of girls.

Fazlullah is likely behind several high-profile attacks, including the attempted assassination of human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

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The Pakistani Taliban is a separate group to the Afghan Taliban, which the USA has been battling since 2001 in Afghanistan. If his killing is confirmed by the United States, it could possibly ease the strained ties between America and Pakistan.

Military officials said terrorists attacked army posts along the border in the Shawal area of the district in an apparent attempt to overrun them.

The strike comes amid a seven-day ceasefire between the Afghan Taliban and government security forces to allow Afghan citizens to observe the last days of Ramazan and Eid peacefully.

The US State Department says the TTP has "demonstrated a close alliance with Al-Qaeda" and had given explosives training to Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber.

A ruthless leader, Fazlullah ordered the bombing and beheadings of dozens of opponents when his band of insurgents controlled Pakistan's picturesque Swat Valley from 2007 until a massive military operation routed them in 2009.

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The strike early Thursday morning in northeastern Kunar province killed Fazlullah and two other insurgents, an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman told the AP Friday.

Fazlullah was reportedly travelling in a vehicle along with four other commanders when they were targeted by a drone around 11pm PST.

Pakistan, however, denies the charge, and itself accuses the US of turning a blind eye to militants who attack Pakistani forces and civilians from Afghan soil.

Washington and Kabul accuse Pakistan of harboring Afghan Taliban and fighters of the allied Haqqani network, which Islamabad denies.

Fazlullah emerged as an Islamist leader in the Swat Valley, northwest of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, more than a decade ago.

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