Khan Said ‘Sajna’, the leader of a splinter group of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan, officials said on Friday.
At least nine close associates of Sajna were also killed in the strike which occurred in Kharh Tangi area of Afghanistan on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.
The death has not yet been denied so far by the Mehsud faction of the TTP which Sajna heads.
Sajna, who is 36, is believed to be involved in the attack on a Naval base in Karachi and is also credited with masterminding a 2012 jailbreak in which the Taliban freed 400 inmates in the northwestern city of Bannu.
“Sajna has no basic education, conventional or religious, but he is battle-hardened and has experience of fighting in Afghanistan,” an official had said earlier.
Meanwhile, AP reported that seven militants were killed on Thursday in a drone strike in the Pakistani border village of Gorwak in North Waziristan, once a stronghold of local and foreign militants until the military cleared them out.
Also on Thursday, missiles fired from US drone slammed into a vehicle in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktia province, killing four militants, said Shah Mohammad Aryan, a spokesman for the provincial chief police.
The strike took place in the mountainous Barmal district of Paktia province, where fighters from both the Haqqani network and Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Taliban militant group are believed to operate.
Confirmation of the strikes came shortly before Afghanistan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai arrived in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials.
Friday’s visit came days after Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua travelled to Afghanistan and met with Afghan officials following series of militant attacks in Kabul that killed over 200 people. Janjua’s visit to Kabul was part of a larger dialogue many Afghans saw it as a response to their accusations against Islamabad.
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai also met with Pakistani officials on Friday, about a week after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani insisted that the “centre of Taliban terrorism is in Pakistan” and demanded that authorities in the neighboring country “show some concrete action to rid their territory of insurgents.”
Ghani had last week sent Afghan officials to share evidence that the Taliban attacks emanated from militant training centres in Pakistan. Afghanistan’s Intelligence Chief Masoom Stanikzai and Interior Minister Wais Ahmed Barmak at the time presented documentation and confessions from arrested men who Kabul believed were trained at seminaries in Pakistan.
Pakistan and Kabul often trade accusations that the other is harboring enemy insurgents.