KHAR, Aug 25: The proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has confirmed the killing of its Bajaur region chief Mullah Dadullah in a Nato air strike in Afghanistan on Friday.

Talking to reporters from an unidentified location on Saturday, a TTP spokesman said that Dadullah and his companions were returning to their hideout in Afghan province of Kunar after carrying out raids in a border area of Bajaur Agency when they came under attack.

He said Maulana Abu Bakr, a senior member of TTP, had been nominated new chief of the Bajaur region on the directives of TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud. Afghan officials and TTP `commanders’ said the drone strike by Nato in a mountainous area of Shigal district killed 19 militants, including Dadullah and his deputy Abdur Rahman. At least eight Afghan-based Pakistani militants were injured in the attack and taken to a hospital in Asadabad, Afghanistan.

Mullah Dadullah, 44, whose real name was Jamal Said, belonged to the Mamond tribe in the village of Damadola. He was prayer leader of the village mosque and also ran a shop in Inayat Killi area before he joined the TTP.

According to sources, Dadullah had close association with some senior members of Al Qaeda from 2003 to 2007.

When he was appointed head of TTP’s Amar Bil Maroof Department he imposed a ban on CD and cassette shops and declared that shaving beard was un-Islamic.

He was later made director general of Darul Kafala (orphanage centre) run by the TTP in Inayat Killi. Dadullah had replaced Maulana Faqir Mohammad as TTP’s Bajaur chief in 2010. He along with hundreds of other militants had moved to Kunar after security forces launched an operation in Bajaur last year.

Agencies add: “There were two separate air strikes in Kunar yesterday (Friday). A total of 12 insurgents were killed, six in each air strike,” a Nato spokesman said in Afghanistan on Saturday.

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