A Pakistani Taliban leader who has been responsible for numerous attacks and kidnappings in the tribal areas is rumored to have been killed by a family member. The report has not been confirmed.
Commander Tariq Afridi, the leader of operations of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) in Khyber, as well as in regions in Arakzai, Peshawar, Kohat, and Hangu, was reportedly gunned down by his brother-in-law while he “was riding a horse,” according to Geo News. The motivation for the alleged shooting was not given.
Neither the TTP nor Tariq’s spokesman, Mohammed Afridi, have responded to the reports of his death.
Tariq was named the terror group’s commander of Khyber in November 2009. He had been a member of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked terror group that routinely murders Shia in Pakistan and even conducted a suicide attack against Shia in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2011.
Tariq also leads the Commander Tariq Afridi Group. This Taliban outfit is considered the most powerful terror group in Arakzai, and is based in Darra Adam Khel. The Tariq Afridi Group also conducts attacks on Pakistani security forces in Kohat and Hangu. His fighters were responsible for closing down the Kohat Tunnel twice in 2008.
He also has kidnapped and murdered Pakistanis and foreigners. In early 2009, the Commander Tariq Afridi Group claimed the murder and beheading of Polish geologist Piotr Stanczak. In early 2010, operating under the guise of an outfit named the “Asian Tigers,” the group was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of former ISI officer and jihadist sympathizer Khalid Khawaja.
Additionally, Tariq’s forces have attacked, looted, and destroyed NATO supply vehicles that pass through Khyber.
If his death is confirmed, Tariq will be the second senior TTP emir to have been killed in the past week. Maulana Mohammad Jamal, the emir of the TTP’s branch in Bajaur, and Shakir, his deputy, were killed in an ISAF airstrike in Kunar province, Afghanistan on Aug. 24.
Additionally, two senior jihadist leaders are reported to have been killed last week, although their deaths have not been confirmed. Badruddin Haqqani, a top leader in the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, is thought to have been killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan. Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied reports that claimed Badruddin was killed in a drone strike, and said he “is in the country and he is occupied with his operational responsibilities.” Afghan intelligence claimed Badruddin is dead.
And Emeti Yakuf, who is also known as Abdul Shakoor Turkistani, may have been killed in the Aug. 24 drone strike in North Waziristan’s Shawal Valley that hit a training camp. Yakuf directs al Qaeda operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.