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Ex-TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid killed in US drone strike: report

Updated July 09, 2015

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The militant commander had parted ways with the TTP and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. —AP/File
The militant commander had parted ways with the TTP and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. —AP/File

PESHAWAR: Former spokesperson for the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Shahidullah Shahid has been killed in a US drone strike, Afghan media reported Thursday.

Quoting the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in Afghanistan, the official account of the country's renowned news channel Tolo News tweeted that Shahidullah Shahid had been killed in Nangarhar province.

However, independent sources have not confirmed the killing of the militant commander in a drone strike.

Shahid recently joined the self-styled Islamic State as a senior commander in Pakistan. He was effectively the group's second in command in Pakistan. Previously, he had served as spokesman of the TTP under Hakimullah Mehsud and current chief Mullah Fazlullah.

The militant commander, whose real name is Sheikh Maqbool Orakzai, parted ways with the TTP and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of IS.

Read more: From TTP to IS: Pakistan's terror landscape evolves

Shahid, a Salafi in orientation, maintained good contacts with Arab fighters.

In March, Nasir Dawar, a senior journalist from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) said disputes within the TTP had triggered the defection of senior militants commanders such as Shahidullah Shahid, Commander Hafiz Saeed Khan from Orakzai, Dawlat Khan from Kurram Agency and some others who played an important role in TTP in the past.

Currently, IS poses serious threats to the Afghan Taliban, who are now engaged in talks with Afghan administration for durable peace in the region.

A few months earlier, the Afghan Taliban had issued a letter to the IS chief warning them to keep away from Afghanistan.

The recent development of Shahid's death could be a serious setback for newly recruited IS militants in Afghanistan.