Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani, a senior leader who was appointed interim emir for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan after Hakeemullah’s death, has been gunned down in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
The HRW report provoked an undiplomatic response from the Pakistani military and ISI.
Badr Mansoor led just one Pakistani “company,” and has been reported to have more than 2,000 fighters under his command. For the last three years, the US government has maintained that al Qaeda has only 300 to 400 operatives in Pakistan and that the network is on the verge of defeat.
Farman Shinwari, like his predecessor, has close ties to the Harakat-ul-Mujahideen and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
Among those freed is a former Pakistani Air Force member who was associated with Amjad Farooqi, the Pakistani jihadi who attempted to assassinate Pervez Musharraf at the behest of al Qaeda.
Ustad Ahmad Farooq, al Qaeda’s spokesman for Pakistan, confirmed that Badr Mansoor was killed in a drone strike on Feb. 2012. Farooq accused the Pakistani military and government of supporting the US’s drone campaign.