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Pakistani Taliban Chief Killed In Targeted US Drone Strike In Afghanistan: Reports

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| June 15 , 2018 , 10:28 IST

A US drone strike targeting the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Mullah Fazlullah in an Afghanistan province near the border of Pakistan has reportedly killed Fazlullah, locals said on Thursday.

An official from the US military, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the report of the targeted strike on Fazlullah to VOA, without confirming the death of the TTP chief. In March, the US State Department had offered a $5 million reward for Fazlullah, the same month that Pakistani sources claimed that his son was killed in a US drone strike at a TTP training facility.

“U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization,” a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said.

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According to US officials, Fazlullah has directed numerous high profile attacks against US and Pakistani targets since 2013 when he was appointed the leader of the TTP. Fazlullah is also said to be responsible for the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Pakistan's Peshawar which resulted in the death of 151 people, including more than 130 children.

Before 2013, Fazlullah reportedly ordered the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai in 2012 in Pakistan, who had been advocating for the right of girls to have access to education.

The strike comes during a cease-fire between the Afghan Taliban and government security forces due to the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. However, the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support, General John Nicholson said that while the US would adhere to the ceasefire, it was not applicable on US counterterrorism attacks on other terror groups.

“As previously stated, the cease-fire does not include U.S. counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al-Qaida, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of U.S. and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked,” US forces spokesperson O'Donnell told VOA.