Kabul: A senior Pakistani militant with a $3 million US bounty on his head has been killed along with three aides in neighboring Afghanistan, three militant commanders, and an intelligence official said.
Pakistani officials said the death of Abdul Wali, also known as Omar Khalid Khurasani, could deal a blow to nascent peace talks between Pakistan’s Taliban, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, and the Pakistani government after meetings facilitated by the Taliban rulers in Kabul.
Khurasani and his aides were killed in an explosion from an apparent roadside bomb while traveling in a car in the southeastern province of Paktia last week, sources said. They did not say who they believed was behind the attack.
Khurasani was the chief of Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a TTP branch that is designated a terrorist group by the United Nations and the United States, which had offered $3 million for information leading to his capture or death.
Kabul’s Taliban government and the Pakistani military and foreign office did not respond to requests for comment. The TTP said without confirming the death that it would release a detailed statement.
Khurasani group had claimed responsibility for multiple attacks against police, military, minority Shiite Muslims and Christians, which killed hundreds of people in Pakistan.
For his strong anti-Shi’ite stance, Khurasani’s group for some years had joined the Islamic State group in Afghanistan and Pakistan before returning to the TTP’s fold last year, officials say.
Khurasani, once seen as hostile to any negotiations with the Pakistani government, was among TTP leaders who held a session of peace talks in Kabul with a delegation of religious scholars sent from Pakistan, Pakistani officials have said. The TTP wants to overthrow the government in Pakistan and replace it with a harsh version of Sharia law.