ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlullah, the chief of Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, according to media reports on Friday.
The US military said on Thursday it carried out a strike targeting a senior militant leader in Afghanistan. It did not identify the militant.
The Express Tribune, however, citing sources said the drone strike that took place in the Nur Gul Kalay village of Dangam district killed Fazlullah and four other Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) commanders.
Unconfirmed reports from locals said Fazlullah has been killed, the Voice of America reported.
Pentagon officials declined to comment on whether the strike was successful.
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.
The TTP, however, did not confirm the death of its chief in the drone strike.
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 also said Fazlullah ordered the 2012 attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, who became a global symbol of the fight for girls’ rights to schooling.
The US strike comes amid a ceasefire between the Afghan Taliban and Afghna security forces to mark the end of the Muslim’s holy month of Ramazan.
Gen John Nicholson, the commander of US Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support, said the United States would adhere to the ceasefire announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which did not include US counterterrorism attacks on other terror groups.
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.