World Pakistani Taliban Says Its Deputy Leader Was Killed in U.S. Airstrike

01:37  14 february  2018
01:37  14 february  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

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The Pakistani Taliban says a senior militant was killed in a US drone attack which killed several militants. Mehsud was deputy leader of the banned Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the main faction of the hardline Islamist Pakistani Taliban .

Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour killed in an airstrike in Pakistan . Senior Pakistani official says strike on Taliban leader surprised his country. Drone strike occurred in a remote area of the Pakistan -Afghanistan border, U . S . official says .

a person posing for the camera: The deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Khan Sayed, also know as Khalid Sajna, was killed in an American drone strike last week, the group said. © via European Pressphoto Agency The deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Khan Sayed, also know as Khalid Sajna, was killed in an American drone strike last week, the group said.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistani Taliban have confirmed the death of their deputy commander in an American drone strike in Afghanistan last week. The commander’s death is a blow to the militant group that has been responsible for deadly suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in the country for over a decade.

The commander, Khan Sayed, who also went by the name Khalid Sajna, was the No. 2 leader of the Pakistan Taliban. He also led his own breakaway faction of fighters from the Mehsud tribe, which inhabits the rugged, semiautonomous South Waziristan region along the border with Afghanistan.

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Photo. The deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban , Khan Sayed, also know as Khalid Sajna, was killed in an American drone strike last week, the group said . Related Coverage. U . S . Drone Strike Kills Militants in Pakistan but Angers Its Government JAN.

[Top Taliban leader was probably killed in airstrike , U . S . official says ]. Pentagon officials say Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was likely killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on May 21. (Reuters).

Pakistani intelligence officials thought he had been killed in a 2015 American drone strike and were still trying to confirm this latest report of his death. But they saw credibility in this claim because the Taliban announced his death and the appointment of a successor.

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His death could force more Mehsud Taliban members to surrender to the Pakistani military “as they have lost the only unifying figure in their ranks,” said Saleem Safi, a senior analyst and a Geo News talk-show host. It could also lead to infighting between the Pakistani Taliban’s factions over the group’s leadership, he said.

Mr. Sayed was considered close to the Haqqani network, the militant group that has carried out deadly attacks in Afghanistan and has been a cause of diplomatic tensions between the United States and Pakistan. A feared militant commander, he also claimed to have masterminded the 2012 jailbreak in the northwestern town of Bannu that resulted in the escape of nearly 400 inmates, including several high-profile militants.

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The Pakistani Taliban says its deputy leader died in a recent U . S . drone strike in Pakistan 's northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan. Pakistani Taliban militants have been waging a campaign of bombings and other attacks on Pakistani security forces. Pakistan opposes U . S . drone

Cook said Khalifa, a leader of the Tariq Gidar Group, was killed in a strike that targeted members of Islamic State-Khorasan Province. The State Department had put the Tariq Gidar Group, a faction linked to the Pakistani Taliban , on its list of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” in May.

Pakistani officials have been critical of the American drone strikes on the Pakistani soil, arguing that they are a violation of the country’s sovereignty. But last week’s attack that killed Mr. Sayed did not elicit a strong reaction from Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

Muhammad Khurasani, a Taliban spokesman, said in a statement on Monday that Mr. Sayed had been killed in a Feb. 8 drone strike in Growek region of North Waziristan, another tribal area. American missiles struck a vehicle carrying the militant commander and five of his security guards as they were entering Pakistani territory from the Afghan side, Pakistani intelligence officials said; all of the security guards were also killed in the strike.

Mr. Sayed had gone into hiding in Khost Province of Afghanistan after the Pakistani Army launched an offensive in 2014 against local and foreign militants in North Waziristan.

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Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U . S . airstrike over the weekend. James Mackenzie and Matt Spetalnick. Handout . / One senior member of the shura, which is based in the western Pakistani city of Quetta, said that the choice for the next leader appeared to be shaping around Mansour's deputy

Haibatullah Akhundzada, a cleric and once the Taliban ’s top judge, was a deputy under Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who was killed in Pakistan ’s Baluchistan province on Saturday. [ U . S . airstrike against Taliban leader cross Pakistani ‘red line’].

After the death of the commander Hakimullah Mehsud in a 2013 American drone attack, Mr. Sayed claimed the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban, which consists of several groups. But he then lost out to the current leader, Maulana Fazlullah, who had been responsible for the 2012 attack on Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani education activist. Differences continued to persist between the two militant commanders.

The man announced by the Taliban as successor to Mr. Sayed is Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, who also goes by Abu Mansoor Asim. A 588-page book he published online last month, “Inquilab-i-Mehsud,” or “Revolution of the Mehsuds,” chronicles the militant group’s formation and activities, including taking responsibility for the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the first woman to lead a country in the Muslim world.

Mr. Mehsud, 40, is also a Shariah court judge.

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