PESHAWAR: Eighteen Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants of the banned organisation's Sajna group were killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan's Paktika province on Monday night, security sources said.

Members of the TTP offshoot were holding a meeting in Paktika's Birmal area during which its leader Khan Said Sajna was expected to appear, sources said.

It is pertinent to mention that Sajna was reported killed in a drone strike last year, but the information had not been independently verified. The Mehsud tribal faction, which Sajna heads, had not denied claims of Sajna's death at the time.

Of the TTP men killed today, 14 belong to the Mehsud tribe and four to the Wazir tribe.

Claims relating to the strike and the deaths could not be independently verified.

Khan Said Sajna became TTP’s deputy leader following the death of Wali-ur-Rehman in May 2013. He fought in Afghanistan and is believed to be involved in the attack on a Naval base in Karachi.

Sajna is credited with masterminding a 2012 jailbreak in which the Taliban freed 400 inmates from a prison in Bannu.

Khan Said Sajna leads the Mehsud faction, which split from TTP in May 2014 after former TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a United States (US) drone strike.

In a public statement following the split, he stated his continued commitment to terrorist activity. The US designated Sajna a global terrorist in Oct 2014.

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