This file photo taken on July 11, 2001 shows Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, commander-in-chief of the Kashmiri militant group Harakat-ul Jihad-i-Islami, addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo by AFP

WASHINGTON: Pakistan helped the United States locate Ilyas Kashmiri who was killed this weekend by an American drone in South Waziristan, the US media reported on Sunday.

The Washington Post reported that the Al Qaeda commander, who also headed a group called Harkatul Jihad al Islami, was on a list of terrorist leaders the United States gave to Pakistan last month.

The New York Times reported that Kashmiri’s death “could go some way to alleviating the strained relations” between Pakistan and the US, particularly after the covert raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

After Bin Laden’s death, the US media projected Kashmiri as “the next Bin Laden” and serious contender for the top slot in Al Qaeda. A congressional publication called The Hill noted that “when combined with the Bin Laden killing, eliminating Kashmiri via a remotely piloted drone could give new fuel” to the increasing number of US lawmakers who say the US needs a “a small but lethally tailored” force in Afghanistan, not tens of thousands of conventional troops.

Headley wanted to travel undercover to Fata to present Kashmiri with an ornate sword that could be fitted with a homing device to set up a US missile attack, according to his testimony before a Chicago court. Headley also told the court about a possible plot by Kashmiri to kill the CEO of defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin because he thought the company makes the predator drones.

Meanwhile, some US media outlets published an interview with a Punjabi Taliban leader, Qari Mohammad Idrees. Qari Idrees said Kashmiri was sitting with friends at an apple orchard when he came under attack. Two missiles hit the same place where the militant commander and his men were sitting.

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