PESHAWAR: Leader of the deadly Pakistani militant outfit, Abdul Wali alias Omar Khalid Khurasani, was seriously wounded in a US drone stroke in the Afghan province of Paktia on Wednesday, a credible source told Dawn.

“He [Khurasani] was evacuated for treatment,” the source said, adding that unconfirmed and uncorroborated reports suggested that he died afterwards.

If his death is confirmed, this would be a most severe blow to Pakistani militant outfits since the American drone strikes took out leaders of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baituallah Mehsud and Hakeemullah Mehsud.

His one-time lieutenant and spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, who later surrendered before Pakistani authorities, claimed that the emir of Jamaatul Ahrar was on the payroll of Afghanistan and was transported to India for back treatment using an Afghan passport.

He had joined the TTP, but after Hakeemullah’s death formed his own Jamaatul Ahrar faction. He was recently known to have been working to become the head of the militant Islamic State group in Khurasan, a move rebuffed by the outfit which wanted him to join without setting preconditions.

Meanwhile, the TTP announced successor to the slain head of Tariq Geedar group, Omar Mansoor.

A statement by the banned militant group said Osman was replacing Omar Mansoor, who was killed in a drone strike last year.

Omar Mansoor, also known as Khalifa Mansoor or Omar Naray, was the mastermind of massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar that had claimed more than 140 lives.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2017

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