Afghan police say Pakistani Taliban chief killed

Afghan police say Pakistani Taliban chief killed

By | 2010-05-28T04:55:00+00:00 May 28th, 2010|News|0 Comments

A senior Pakistan Taliban leader may have been killed in a clash with Afghan forces near the border, a senior Afghan police officer said on Thursday, in what would be a major victory for Swat Valley security forces.

Maulvi Fazlullah, the head of a Taliban faction in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, was reportedly killed along with six of his comrades in the Barg Matal district of Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, said Mohammad Zaman Mamozai, chief of the Afghan border force for the eastern region. Barg Matal is close to the Pakistan border.

"Maulvi Fazlullah was killed in a direct clash with Afghan border police … last night," Mamozai said.

He did not have further details. The Afghan Taliban have confirmed the fighting, but said no foreign militants were involved.

The report of Fazlullah’s death comes after several days of clashes between Afghan forces and militants in Barg Matal.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, who heads a Pakistani Taliban faction based in the Bajaur tribal region, denied media reports that Fazlullah was leading any assault in Afghanistan.

"He could be in Nuristan because the Taliban have been moving back and forth along the (Pakistan-Afghan) border," he told Reuters by telephone before reports of Fazlullah’s death.

"He may be living in Nuristan but he is not engaged in any fighting there," he said.

Jaffar Khan, a top police official in Chitral, which lies opposite the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, said there were reports Fazlullah was fighting in Nuristan during the past two days but the reports were not confirmed.

In a BBC interview in November, Fazlullah said he had escaped to Afghanistan after a Pakistani military offensive against the Taliban in his stronghold in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley in April last year.

The Pakistani army maintains a troop presence of about 30,000 in Swat and surrounding areas, but there are signs that the Swat Taliban are attempting a comeback.