Islamabad, Jun 21 (PTI) Pakistan today confirmed that Mullah Fazlullah, the dreaded chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has been killed in Afghanistan’s restive Kunar province, calling it a “significant” development. Also Read - Two Afghan Women Supreme Court Judges Shot Dead in Kabul

“Yes, we confirm it….,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal told reporters here at his weekly media briefing. Also Read - International Flights: India Approves Revised Air Bubble With Afghanistan, Philippines | Details Here

This was the first official confirmation of Fazlullah’s death by Pakistan. Also Read - PUBG Mobile Latest Update: Check List of Countries Where This Game Was Banned Due to Addiction Issues

A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, last week said that the US forces had conducted a strike close to the border of Pakistan, targeting the “Emir” of the group.

Afghan Ministry of Defense spokesman Mohammad Radmanish later said that Fazlullah, who is believed to be in his forties, was killed in the US strike.

TTP has not yet announced the news of the death of its leader.

“The killing of the terrorist Mullah Fazlullah, who has been directing terrorism against Pakistan, is a significant development in fighting terrorism,” Faisal said.

“The news of his death has been received in Pakistan with relief, especially by the families whose loved ones were victims of TTP’s terrorist attacks, including the APS (army public school) massacre,” he said, referring to the killing of 150 people, mostly students, in a Taliban attack in Peshawar in 2014.

Fazlullah, also known by the alias Radio Mullah or Maulana Radio due to his long sermons on a private radio channel, had been a major figure in the TTP even before he became emir in late 2013.

He was the man in charge of the TTP operations in Pakistan’s restive Swat Valley when student activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in 2012.

He was designated as a global terrorist by the US and carried a bounty of USD 5 million. He had been on the run since his loyalists were routed in a major military operation in Swat district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in 2009.

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.

In 2014, there were reports that Fazlullah had been killed. However that information turned out to be false. In 2010, similar news about his death had broken out but later proved false.

Faisal said Pakistan’s position regarding peace and stability in Afghanistan is clear and well known.

“We believe that the only viable solution to the conflict in Afghanistan lies in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. Pakistan supports all efforts made to bring about lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

He said the ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban on the eve of Eid was a step in the right direction, which Pakistan supported.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.