WASHINGTON: A US drone targeted and, apparently, killed the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mullah Fazlullah in the Afghan province of Kunar, media reports and US defence sources said on Thursday.

The Voice of America radio reported that a US military official confirmed to its correspondents that a US drone strike had “targeted the TTP leader in an Afghan province near the border with Pakistan”.

The official US radio also quoted unconfirmed reports from the target area as claiming that Mullah Fazlullah had been killed.

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the strike was carried out late Wednesday and the TTP chief was its target but he also said that he could not confirm if he was killed.

A spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan, Army Lt Col Martin O’Donnell, told VOA that “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.”

Pentagon officials, when asked to comment on the VoA report, said they were not yet in a position to confirm if decline if the strike was successful.

The strike comes amid a seven-day ceasefire between the Afghan Taliban and government security forces to allow Afghan citizens to observe the last days of Ramazan and Eid peacefully.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2018

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