–Leader of banned outfit was critically injured during US drone attacks in Afghanistan’s Paktia on Tuesday
–TTP confirms last year’s killing of APS mastermind Umar Naray, names successor
PESHAWAR: Chief of the notorious Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Jamaat-ul-Ahraar (JuA) faction, Umar Khalid Khorasani was killed in a US drone attack in Afghanistan’s Paktia province on Tuesday, it was claimed on Thursday, just as the TTP confirmed last year’s killing of Umar Mansoor Naray, the mastermind of the Army Public School Peshawar massacre, and named his successor.
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Jamaat-ul-Ahraar chief was critically injured in a drone attack.
The strike was conducted close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Paktia on Tuesday. Khorasani, being critically injured in the attack, was moved to an undisclosed location.
The commander of the banned militant group hailed from Mohmand Agency – one of the seven agencies in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) – and goes by the alias Abdul Wali.
At least 31 people were killed in three drone strikes near the Pak-Afghan border in Afghanistan on Monday and Tuesday.
In July, Pakistan welcomed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decision to include Jamaat-ul-Ahraar in the list of entities subject to travel bans, arms embargos and freezing of assets.
The JuA based in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan has been involved in a series of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan and was declared a banned outfit in the country in 2016.
Since 2014, when the JuA first surfaced, it proved itself to be a lethal terrorist group, perpetrating some of the most brutal attacks in Pakistan.
The group has been involved in more than 100 terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil.
Khorasani was TTP’s Mohmand Agency chief but in September 2014, TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah ousted him after he and his associates accused the TTP leadership of deviating from the TTP ideology, leading to the formation of splinter group TTP Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.
In 2015, Umar had declared allegiance to Islamic States (IS)-Daesh, however, in 2017, Khalid had withdrawn his allegiance.
TTP APPOINTS NEW CHIEF FOR DARRA ADAMKHEL, PESHAWAR:
In a related development, the TTP on Wednesday named a successor for militant commander Umar Mansoor along with a formal confirmation that he was dead.
In an email sent to journalists on Wednesday, TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said that Usman Mansoor Hafizullah will replace Umar Mansoor as the faction’s commander in Darra Adam Khel and Peshawar.
Umar Mansoor, who had also claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Bacha Khan University in 2016, was said to be the mastermind of 2014’s massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar which left at least 144 people, mostly children, dead.
He was killed in July last year.
According to reports, Umar Mansoor, alias Khalifa Mansour, alias Umar Naray, had been killed, along with another militant leader, Qari Saifullah, in a US drone attack in the Bandar area of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province in July 2016.
Qari Saifullah was in charge of suicide bombers.
Commander of the Resolute Support Mission, Gen John Nicholson, had also confirmed the death of “terrorist Umar Naray alias Khalifa Umar alias Khalid Khurasani” in Afghanistan in a phone call to then army chief General Raheel Sharif.
After an attack on Bacha Khan University, Umar Mansoor in a video had said that his faction had attacked the university “because this is the place where lawyers are made, this is the place that produces military officers, this is the place that produces members of the parliament, all of whom challenge Allah’s sovereignty”.
Instead of targeting armed soldiers, he had said, “we will target the nurseries that produce these people”.
“We will continue to attack schools, colleges and universities across Pakistan as these are the foundations that produce apostates. We will target and demolish the foundations,” he shad aid.
He was forced to take shelter in Afghanistan after the Army Public School massacre in Peshawar.