Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah killed in US-Afghan airstrike

Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah killed in US-Afghan airstrike
A leading Pakistani militant has been killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan, despite a Eid ceasefire being in place.
2 min read
15 June, 2018
Fazlullah is Pakistan's leading militant [AFP]
Pakistan Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah has been killed in an airstrike on Friday, Afghanistan's defence ministry has said, after a joint US-Afghan operation targeting the militant's hideout in the northeast of the country.

"I confirm that Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in an joint air operation in the border area of Marawera district of Kunar province," Mohammed Radmanish, a spokesperson for Afghan defence ministry, told Reuters.

Taliban sources told the news agency that they also believe the Pakistani militant chief has been killed.

"We have been hearing since early Friday that our emir (leader) was martyred along with four other militant commanders in Marawar area of Kunar. They were staying at a house when a drone fired missiles and martyred them," Taliban member Maulvi Abdur Rasheed told Reuters.

The US confirmed that it carried out an airstrike in the area, but did not say if Fazlullah was targeted.

"US forces conducted a counterterrorism strike, June 13, in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organisation," Lieutenant Colonel Martin O'Donnell said in a statement.

Fazlullah was one of the US and Afghanistan's most wanted militants, with a $5 million reward for information on the him.

He is thought to be behind the 2014 Pakistan school massacre, which left 132 children dead, as well as the shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

Pakistan has not yet commented on the reports.

Afghanistan is subject to a ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, with the peace largely holding during the last week of Ramadan and on Eid al-Fitr.

Moves towards a possible long-term peace deal with the Taliban have been made.

Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are not subject to the ceasefire. Pakistan's Taliban is thought to have close links with al-Qaeda. 

Agencies contributed to this story.