Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Pakistani Taliban Deputy Leader Killed in Drone Strike

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Kenny Thornton | 12 February, 2018, 17:55

The deputy chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been killed in a United States drone strike, the militant group said in a statement Monday, as Washington continues to intensify attacks along the Afghan border region.

At least two intelligence sources had confirmed to The Express Tribune that Sajna, who headed Mehsud faction of the TTP, was killed in a drone strike in the Margha area of Barmal in Afghanistan along with his nephew Ismail and two guards.

Several of his aides were also killed in the attack.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in 2014.

Mehsud refused to accept Mullah Fazlullah as TTP chief, mainly because Fazlullah did not hail from the tribal region, and was living in Afghanistan due to the absence of his own base on Pakistani soil.

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"We know that a Taliban fighter killed 16 militiamen fighting alongside government forces, but who these forces belong to, we don't know yet", said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been strained since January 1 when Trump's denounced Pakistani "lies and deceit" over its support for the Afghan Taliban and their allies.

The comments come amid mounting tension between Washington and Islamabad after Mr Trump last month suspended aid and accused Pakistan of offering a "safe haven" to terrorists operating in Afghanistan.

Mehsud has kept militant attacks going not only against military targets in South Waziristan but also at times deeper inside Pakistani territory.

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