US hits Pakistani Taliban training camp in eastern Afghanistan

The US military is reported to have struck a training camp in Afghanistan’s remote eastern province of Kunar that was run by the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) earlier today. The son of Mullah Fazlullah, the emir of the TTP, and two commanders, including the camp’s trainer of suicide bombers, are reported to have been killed.

The offensive targeted the Ghazi Camp in Kunar, which borders the Pakistani tribal agency of Bajaur, a former stronghold of the TTP, according to Dawn. The TTP is said to have confirmed the attack in a text message that was delivered to Pakistani media outlets.

In addition to Fazlullah’s son, the US also killed Gul Mohammad, the chief of the TTP in Bajaur and the leader of camp, and Ustad Yaseen, who trained TTP recruits to serve as suicide bombers.

The US military has not commented on the strike. US warplanes occasionally target jihadists of all stripes in Afghanistan.

The most recent instance took place in early Feb., when the US targeted Taliban training camps in the far-flung northeastern province of Badakhshan. The camps were used by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a terrorist group that is closely allied with al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups.

The US has also targeted the TTP at least one other time since the beginning of Feb. A US drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan killed Sajna Mehsud, the group’s deputy emir and its leader of the influential Mehsud faction in South Waziristan. The US hunted Sajna for at least three years before finally killing him.

The TTP not only battles the Pakistani state in the tribal areas and beyond, but it also aids the Afghan Taliban in its fight against the government and US military.

Pakistani government and military officials often accuse the US and Afghan government of sheltering the TTP. This is done to deflect criticism of its support for the Afghan Taliban and other terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba.

However, the US has killed far more TTP leaders, commanders, and operatives in its drone campaign inside Pakistan. The first two emirs of the TTP, Baitullah Mehsud and Hakeemullah Mehsud, were killed by US drones. Yet the Pakistani government has criticized these strikes and others as violations of its sovereignty.

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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