Senior TTP leader Khurasani killed in Afghanistan's Nangarhar: sources
A senior leader of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Khalid Balti alias Mohammad Khurasani, was killed in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, a senior security official confirmed on Monday.
Details on the circumstances surrounding the killing were not clear.
The official said Balti, aged around 50, had also been the banned outfit's spokesperson and was involved in several attacks on the people and security forces of Pakistan.
He (Balti) had been visiting Kabul frequently since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, the official added.
Balti had been making efforts for uniting various TTP factions and planning terrorist attacks with TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, the official said, adding that he had recently hinted at carrying out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.
However, a spokesman for the Afghan government denied the killing of the senior TTP member and said that no such incident had taken place.
"I do not confirm these reports. They are not true. No such incident has taken place on this (Afghan) side," Afghan government spokesperson Bilal Karimi told Dawn.com when asked for a comment on Balti's killing.
Hailing from Gilgit-Baltistan, Balti had been an operational commander of the TTP for the past several years.
In 2007, he joined the banned Tehreek Nifaz Shariat-i-Muhammadi in Swat and established close ties with Mullah Fazlullah, a former head of the TTP. He had cordial and close relations with TTP members of all tiers, officials said, adding that Balti played a vital role in the TTP's propaganda campaign.
Officials said Balti ran a terrorist hideout in Khyber Pakthunkhwa's Miramshah town and had fled to Afghanistan in the aftermath of operation Zarb-i-Azab. In 2014, he served as the head of the TTP media committee.
He was arrested in 2015 in Nangarhar by Afghan forces and remained at Bagram and Pul-i-Charkhi jails, according to a former TTP member, who was aware of Balti's activities.
Balti, and other TTP militants, were freed last year in August when the Afghan Taliban resorted to releasing prisoners during their military offensive.
He was also the person who had called the media in Pakistan and Afghanistan to claim the 2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.
Baqir Sajjad Syed contributed to reporting