US Kills Pakistani Taliban Leader in Drone Strike

Undated footage of Mullah Fazlullah is shown on a projector

Undated footage of Mullah Fazlullah is shown on a projector

The leader of Pakistan's Taliban armed group has been killed in neighbouring Afghanistan's Kunar province, the Afghan defence ministry said on Friday.

A USA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the strike late Wednesday targeted Mullah Fazlullah, the fugitive chief of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in the volatile Afghan province of Kunar. He said the airstrike was carried out at about 9 a.m. on Thursday.

The US military said on Thursday it carried out a strike targeting a senior militant leader in Afghanistan.

A USA drone strike has killed the leader of the Taliban's Pakistani faction, Mullah Fazlullah, The Associated Press reported.

Earlier this year, the USA offered a $5 million reward for information on Fazlullah, citing his role in the 2014 school attack, the 2012 beheadings of 17 Pakistani soldiers, and the 2012 shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

In March, the USA offered a $5 million reward for information on Fazlullah.

In a statement released by the TTP, the group acknowledged its leader had been killed.

"We believe this is the best opportunity for the Taliban to accept the peace offer, end the bloodshed, and be part of the solution to bring peace and a better life to his nation and the children of this country", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander added.

Malala Yousafzai is now a student at Oxford
Malala Yousafzai is now a student at Oxford Credit AAMIR QURESHI AFP Getty Images

"US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's unilateral cease-fire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by H.E. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the twenty-seventh day of Ramadan". The call was initiated by Ghani.

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 a major offensive by the Pakistani military against the organization.

Fazlullah was known as a hardliner who broadcast fiery sermons and hard-line ideology via an extremist radio station.

A retired Pakistani Brigadier, Mehmood Shah, welcomed the drone killing.

Fazlullah, the most-wanted militant in Pakistan for years, was blamed for hundreds of attacks against Pakistani security forces and civilians in the past decade.

Since then, United States officials said, he directed numerous high-profile attacks against American and Pakistani targets.

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

In 2012, a Pakistani Taliban gunman shot Malala Yousafzai, a teenager who had been calling for more educational opportunities for girls. However, people close to the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan started to believe that something had happened to their leader.

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