Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Pakistan Taliban chief Fazlullah killed in U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan

Eid al Fitr 2018 GettyRamadan started on Wednesday May 16 and lasted for a month
Jeannette Daniel | 15 June, 2018, 17:13

General John Nicholson, the commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission had earlier said that the United States would adhere to the ceasefire with Taliban announced by Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani.

The United States military on Thursday targetted a chief of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) via a drone strike in Afghanistan's Kunar province near the border with Pakistan, it said of the attack, with one U.S. official saying the target was believed to be the head of the banned group.

Fazlullah was reportedly travelling in a vehicle along with four other commanders when they were targeted by a drone strike at 11pm on June 13 in Afghanistan's Kunar province.

In 2014, there were reports that Fazlullah had been killed. The sources did not provide details.

The official U.S. radio also quoted unconfirmed reports from the target area as claiming that Mullah Fazlullah had been killed.

"I confirm that Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in an joint air operation in the border area of Marawera district of Kunar province", Mohammad Radmanish of the Afghan Defence Ministry told Reuters. AP quoted him as saying two more insurgents were killed in the strike.

The statement did not say whether the strike had killed anyone and did not identify Fazlullah as the target.

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According to Pakistani officials, Fazlullah, who is believed to be in his forties, took refuge in Afghanistan after the TTP was pushed out of Pakistan following multiple offensives by the military on its safe havens.

"As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include USA counter-terrorism efforts against [Daesh], Al-Qaida, and other regional and worldwide terrorist groups, or the inherent right of U.S. and global forces to defend ourselves if attacked", he had said.

Fazlullah is believed to have directed the attack in Peshawar.

Fazlullah was Pakistan's most-wanted militant, notorious for attacks including a 2014 school massacre that killed 132 children and the 2012 shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The TTP has also threatened attacks against the USA homeland and had claimed responsibility for a failed 2010 bomb attack in New York City's Times Square.

In his Eid greeting this week, Afghan Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhunzada repeated the Taliban demand for direct talks with the United States before opening negotiations with the Afghan government.

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