Washington, June 15: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mullah Fazlullah, who was allegedly behind the attack of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012, has been killed in a US-Afghan air strike in Afghanistan, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said on Friday. Locals in the area confirmed the death. However, Pentagon officials declined to comment on the development. Also Read - Even Pakistan, Afghanistan Handled Covid-19 Better: Rahul Gandhi Takes a Dig at Govt Over IMF Projections
Fazlullah had been a major figure in the TTP even before he became “emir” of the group in late 2013 and led a Pakistan Taliban militia in the country’s Swat Valley before his elevation to leadership of the group. Also Read - Afghanistan: 15 Feared Dead as Two Air Force Helicopters Collide in Nawa
As per US officials, Fazlullah had directed numerous high-profile attacks against American and Pakistani targets, including the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 151 people. He is also accused of ordering the 2012 attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, who had been advocating for the right of girls to have access to an education. Also Read - NSA Ajit Doval Holds Talks With Peace Council Chief Abdullah Abdullah For 'Independent' Afghanistan
The US State Department offered a $5 million reward for Fazlullah in March, the same month Pakistani sources said his son was killed in an American drone strike on a TTP training facility. A statement from US Forces-Afghanistan claimed that the strike did not put at risk an ongoing, unilateral ceasefire initiated by the Afghan government.
“US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Afghanistan government’s unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by President Ashraf Ghani. “As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against… regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked,” read the statement.
“We hope this pause leads to dialogue and progress on reconciliation and a lasting end to hostilities,” it added.
(With inputs from IANS)