Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Pakistan Taliban chief who ordered Malala assassination 'killed in United States strike'

Pakistan Taliban chief who ordered Malala assassination 'killed in United States strike'

"Ghani has full blessings of the US administration and it is crucial for the USA officials to prove that Trump's policies are working and talks with the Afghan Taliban are imminent", said a senior diplomat who met Afghan officials on Sunday to monitor the chance of back-channel talks with Taliban leaders.

"I confirm that Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a joint air operation with the USA in the border area of Marawara district of Kunar province", Mohammad Radmanish, spokesperson for the Afghanistan defence ministry, told the media.

In Afghanistan's eastern Logar provincial capital of Pul-e-Alam dozens of unarmed Taliban celebrated the Eid holiday, several greeting Afghan security forces, provincial police chief spokesman Shahpur Ahmadzai said Saturday in a telephone interview.

Until recently, the Trump administration had been increasing pressure on Pakistan to halt support for Taliban responsible for attacks on United States and Afghan forces.

Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for advocating for the right of all children to education and speaking out, at the risk of her own life, against the suppression of youngsters in her country.

The US State Department says the TTP has "demonstrated a close alliance with Al-Qaeda" and had given explosives training to Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber.

Fazlullah, one of the Pakistan Taliban's longtime militia commanders, was elected leader in 2013.

Malala's open call for girls' education and criticism of the Taliban infuriated Fazlullah, who ordered her assasination when she was only 14. Locals in the area also confirmed the death.

Military officials said terrorists attacked army posts along the border in the Shawal area of the district in an apparent attempt to overrun them. The statement did not name Fazlullah or specify that anyone was killed.

Fazlullah is believed to have directed the attack in Peshawar.

He said that killing of TTP commander is a positive development and it gives relief to scores of Pakistani families who fell victims to TTP terror including the APS massacre. He said two other insurgents were killed with Fazlullah.

Ghani added the Pakistani leaders had assured him the strike was "a great step toward building trust between the two nations", while urging them to "bring (the) Afghan Taliban residing in Pakistan to the negotiation table".

Earlier in a statement, Director General ISPR Asif Ghafoor said terrorist incidents in Pakistan were linked to sanctuaries across Afghan border.

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

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