A vehicle carrying senior commanders of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including Omar Khalid Khorasani, has been targeted with a mysterious explosive device in eastern Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials and locals sources.
“A vehicle reportedly carrying TTP Mohmand chief Omar Khalid Khorasani, aka Abdul Wali Mohmand, Mufti Hassan and Hafiz Dawlat Khan, was targeted in Sharki village, near Margha, in Bermal district of Paktika province,” one Afghan official told The Express Tribune.
Remains of the vehicle that was targeted with a mysterious explosive device in eastern Afghanistan.
All on board the vehicle were killed, he said without giving more details.
According to anonymous sources, the TTP leaders were travelling in the Birmal district of Paktika “for consultation” when their vehicle hit a roadside mine on August 7. No further details were provided by the sources.
Khorasani, who belonged to the Mohmand tribal district, was considered a member of the TTP top hierarchy.
Hafiz Dawlat, from the Orakzai tribal district, was considered to be an important member of the group and a close trustee of Khorasani.
Mufti Hassan hailed from the Malakand Division and was one of the TTP leaders who pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the deceased leader of the Islamic State. Sources claim that Hassan had allegedly kindled conflict within the TTP some years ago.
Khorasani carried a bounty of Rs10 million on his head. Dawlat and Hassan had joined the Khorasan franchise of Islamic State when it was set up, but they were later wooed back into the TTP’s folds.
TTP commanders Mufti Hassan (L) and Hafiz Dawlat Khan (R).
Earlier in the day, TTP intelligence chief Abdul Rashid, alias Uqabi Bajauri, was also killed in a landmine blast in Kunar province of Afghanistan, according to local Afghan sources. Uqabi belonged to the Bajaur tribal district.
The TTP has yet to confirm these targeted killings of its top commanders, which would certainly undermine the Afghan Taliban-brokered peace negotiations between the TTP and the Pakistan government.
The news comes after the outlawed TTP, and Pakistan reached a deadlock during their talks as the militant group refused to budge from its demand for the reversal of the merger of the erstwhile Fata with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
There was also a stalemate over the issue of the TPP laying don their arms in case of a peace deal, which would enable them to return to their homeland.