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Pakistani Taliban leader killed in Afghanistan, sources say

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A high Pakistani militant who had a $3 million U.S. bounty on his head has been killed together with three others in Afghanistan, three senior leaders of his group instructed NBC Information.

Abdul Wali, also referred to as Omar Khalid Khurasani, was killed in an explosion Sunday whereas touring by automobile within the southeastern province of Paktika, the sources mentioned, talking on situation of anonymity as a result of the assault had not but been publicly introduced.

Khurasani was a senior chief of the Pakistani Taliban, generally known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, which seeks to overthrow the nuclear-armed authorities of Pakistan and exchange it with a strict model of Islamic regulation. Although the Pakistani Taliban are a separate group, they’re allied with the Taliban militants who seized again energy in Afghanistan as the USA withdrew one yr in the past.

Abdul Wali.
Abdul Wali.Rewards for Justice / State Division

Khurasani’s dying might jeopardize peace talks he was taking part in between the TTP and the Pakistani authorities, that are being facilitated by the Afghan Taliban.

The Pakistani Taliban sources didn’t say who they believed was accountable for the assault on Khurasani and his three aides.

“We obtained their our bodies and began investigations to establish whether or not they died in an IED blast, drone strike or in the event that they have been shot lifeless,” a senior member of the group mentioned, referring to improvised explosive gadgets.

After these investigations are accomplished, “we’ll concern an in depth assertion whether or not to proceed the peace talks with Pakistan or not.”

The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Stories of Khurasani’s dying in Afghanistan come every week after the U.S. mentioned it killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in an assault in Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Khurasani break up from the TTP in 2014 to type his personal militant faction, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which the United Nations and the U.S. have designated a terrorist group. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which later joined the TTP, is accused of killing lots of of individuals in a number of assaults on Pakistani forces and non secular minorities, notably Christians and Shiite Muslims.

In March 2018, the Division of State supplied as much as $3 million for info on Khurasani below its Rewards for Justice program. He was additionally needed by the federal government of Pakistan, which has performed large navy operations towards the TTP which have pushed most of the militants throughout the border into Afghanistan.

The group, which was based in 2007, has skilled a resurgence because the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan final yr, and Pakistan accuses Afghanistan’s renewed rulers of supporting it.

The Pakistani Taliban sources mentioned the group’s senior leaders had lengthy been prohibited from touring collectively in the identical car, and that it was not clear why Khurasani and his aides had completed so.

They mentioned Khurasani’s physique was taken to Nangarhar province, the place he was based mostly, and laid to relaxation there Monday.

“We couldn’t attend the funeral as a consequence of fears of drone strikes, because the drones have been flying over components of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces,” a senior member of the group mentioned.

Mushtaq Yusufzai reported from Peshawar, Pakistan, and Jennifer Jett reported from Hong Kong.