Afghanistan confirms death of Mullah Fazlullah in drone raid
Afghan Ministry of Defence spokesman Mohammad Radmanish confirmed to foreign media that Mullah Fazlullah, who led the TTP from 2013, was killed in the attack on Wednesday.
US forces had conducted the strike close to the border of Pakistan, targeting the chief of the group, according US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell.
Fazlullah had been a major figure in the TTP even before he became its chief in late 2013, and once led a Taliban militia in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
The administrative district, in northwestern Pakistan, was where militants shot and wounded teen activist Malala Yousafzai in October 2012 as she was returning home from school in a van.
A statement from US Forces-Afghanistan claimed that the strike did not put an ongoing, unilateral ceasefire initiated by the Afghan government at risk.
“US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by … Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the 27th day of Ramadan.
“As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked,” read the statement. IS-K refers to ISIS’ presence in Afghanistan.
“We hope this pause leads to dialogue and progress on reconciliation and a lasting end to hostilities,” the statement added.
Mullah Fazlullah was elected Taliban leader in 2013. The previous head, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a US drone strike in northwestern Pakistan just before Fazlullah took control.
Fazlullah known as Mullah Radio, a hardliner who broadcast fiery sermons and hard-line ideology via an extremist radio station. The station was shut down when he was pushed out of Pakistan.
Along with masterminding the attack on Yousafzai, Fazlullah was the leader of the TTP when they claimed responsibility for the bloodiest terrorist attack in Pakistan’s history, on 16 December 2014 at Army Public School in Peshawar, which left around 150 people most of them schoolchildren dead.
Fazlullah after being pushed out of Pakistan took refuge in Afghanistan and continued his terrorist activities from the lawless areas of the country.