Pakistani Taliban commander reported killed in Kunar

A Pakistani Taliban commander who aided in the murder of three US Special operations troops in the Pakistani district of Dir in February 2010 may have been killed in a recent US airstrike in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. From Express News, via AKI:

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) [or Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan] leader Hafeezullah and two of his aides have been killed in Afghanistan, the Express Tribune reported, citing unnamed official sources.

An official speaking on conditions of anonymity told that Pakistani daily that Taliban insurgents were killed by a drone strike on 10 December in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, 10 kilometres away from Pakistan’s territory.

Hafeezullah headed the Taliban in the Upper and Lower Dir areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province before the military operation began. He was believed to have gone into hiding in Afghanistan.

Authorities say he was involved in a number of suicide bombings in Dir, one of them being a suicide bomb in which three Americans among others were killed. He had then personally called local reporters to claim responsibility for the attack.

The timing of this report matches with ISAF’s reporting on activity in Kunar on Dec. 10. On that date, ISAF reported on two engagements with the Taliban, one in the Sar Kani district, and another in Nari. Both engagements involved airstrikes.

The Nari engagement:

In Kunar province an ISAF task force reported an imminent threat in Nari district and called for air support. After gaining positive identification an air weapons team on scene engaged, killing more than 25 insurgents.

The Sar Kani engagement:

An ISAF patrol was engaged with rocket-propelled grenades by insurgents in Sar Kani District and called for air support. After gaining positive identification direction, air weapons team on scene engaged, killing numerous insurgents.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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