Pakistan Taliban chief who shot Malala killed in US drone strike

Pakistan Taliban leader Fazlullah, the man believed to have shot Malala Yousafzai, was targeted by a US drone strike and killed, a senior United States military official has confirmed that a drone strike conducted by American forces has targeted terrorist Mullah Fazalullah, the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, in Afghanistan’s Kunar province near the border with Pakistan.

In 2014, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Kailash Satyarthi for activism on behalf of children’s rights. She is the Prize’s youngest recipient.

  • US drone strike late Wednesday targeted Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Fazlullah.
  • Fazlullah and his commanders were having an Iftar party.
  • Fazlullah had directed numerous high-profile attacks against the US and Pakistan.
  • Fazlullah is also known as ‘Mullah Radio’ for his long and fiery sermons on pirate radio in Swat Valley, Pakistan.

Fazlullah and his commanders were having an Iftar party at a compound when a remotely piloted US aircraft targeted them, the report quoted a source as saying.

Fazlullah had directed numerous high-profile attacks against the US and Pakistani targets since he was appointed the group’s leader in 2013, including the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 151 people, including more than 130 children.

The US military also later confirmed that it carried out a strike targeting Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, where Pakistani Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah is believed to be hiding.

It added that US forces were continuing to “adhere to a ceasefire” which Kabul has entered into with the Afghan Taliban, the country’s main insurgents, seemingly ruling out that group, amid US media reports the attack had targeted Fazlullah.

Pakistani media outlet The Express Tribune said that Fazlullah was born Fazal Hayat in Swat. He studied at an Islamic religious school and worked as a chairlift operator and sold firewood, before joining his father-in-law’s Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), or Movement for the Enforcement of the Sharia of Mohammad.

Fazlullah, one of the Pakistan Taliban’s longtime militia commanders, was elected leader in 2013. The previous head, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a US drone strike in northwestern Pakistan just before Fazlullah took control.

Fazlullah, who has been designated as a global terrorist by the US and carried a bounty of USD 5 million, had been on the run since his loyalists were routed in a major military operation in Pakistan’s Swat district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2009.

Source: Business Standard
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