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Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Pakistan Taliban confirms senior commander's death by drone

Pakistan Taliban confirms senior commander's death by drone

The deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed in a USA drone strike, the militant group said in a statement Monday, as Washington continues to intensify attacks along the Afghan border region.

TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani said Sajna was also heading the Mehsud faction of the Taliban and that, following his death, the top leadership appointed Mufti Noor Wali Wali to replace their dead deputy.

Several top leaders of the TTP and the Afghan Taliban have been killed in U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani territory.

Mehsud was killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan, located near the border with Afghanistan, the group said in a statement, the BBC reported.

But there were conflicting accounts of the drone attack from Pakistani intelligence officials and militant sources.

Wali, like his predecessor, would lead militants in South Waziristan, a rugged mountainous region on the Afghan border which has always been home to Pakistani, Afghan and al Qaeda-linked foreign militants.

The military funds for Pakistan, however, include a condition which requires Islamabad to a decisive action against the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups to receive the assistance.

Tariq says Wali enjoys the backing of Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban who is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan.

Many TTP militants have sought refuge in Afghanistan.

United States drone strikes in the border region have picked up since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, though they are a long way off their peak in 2010. According to a January 12, 2018 report, Bajwa said he received a phone call from the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Vogel, offering assurances that the United States would not unilaterally hit targets inside Pakistan.

Mehsud has kept militant attacks going not only against military targets in South Waziristan but also at times deeper inside Pakistani territory.

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