Pakistani Taliban Deputy Leader Killed in Drone Strike


The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan confirmed on Monday the death of its deputy chief Khan Said Mehsud, alias Sajna.

THE spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban has confirmed the death of their deputy leader in a recent U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region.

Recently, the terrorist attacks by the Taliban had increased in Afghanistan leading the United States to consider "unilateral steps in areas of divergence" to counter the militants.

In recent weeks, Kabul has been hit by several deadly assaults, including a massive suicide vehicle bombing in a crowded central area on January 27 that killed more than 100 people and was claimed by the Taliban. He added that a commander called Mufti Noor Wali Wali was appointed by the Taliban chief to succeed Sanja.

Sajna was also heading the Mehsud branch of the Pakistani Taliban.

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More bombing nearly invariably means more civilian casualties, which could further mobilise Afghans against the United States.

However, Pakistani military officials say major ground and air offensives launched in 2014 have mostly cleared the tribal belt and construction of a robust fence on the Pakistani side of the frontier is now under way to deter illegal cross border movements.

Sajna, who was one of top TTP leaders, also headed Taliban militants from the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan.

Pakistani authorities suspect Sajna played a role in planning major terrorist attacks in the country and was instrumental in a jailbreak in 2012 in the northwestern town of Bannu that freed about 400 inmates, including militants.

Both the countries routinely accuse each other of supporting militant attacks against their respective soils, fueling tension.