US drone strike kills Pakistan Taliban leader

TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah

The deadly USA drone strike coincided with a unscheduled brief trip to Kabul by Gen Qamar where he met the Afghan leadership and commanders of the Operation Resolute Support Mission.

Fazlullah, who escaped a major counter-terror operation carried out by the Pakistani military in the northwestern Swat Valley in 2009, had since regrouped his fighters in the border region of Afghanistan, according to security officials.

Along with masterminding the attack on Yousafzai, Fazlullah was the leader of the TTP when they claimed responsibility for the bloodiest terrorist attack in Pakistan's history, a December 2014 attack on a military school in Peshawar, which left 141 schoolchildren under the age of 11 dead.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai speaks during an interview with Reuters at a local hotel in Islamabad on March 30.

TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah. However, he noted that the cease-fire applies to the Afghan Taliban and "does not include US counterterrorism efforts" against a local branch of the Islamic State, al-Qaida "and other regional and global terrorist groups".

The U.S. State Department in March announced a $5 million reward for help locating Fazlullah, who has been linked to bloody attacks in Pakistan and the attempted Times Square auto bombing in NY in 2010.

Mullah Fazlullah became the leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in November 2013 following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a USA drone strike in North Waziristan.

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According to analysts, because Fazlullah was in Kunar, Islamabad continually accused Afghanistan of supporting groups that target Pakistan.

A USA drone strike has killed the leader of the Taliban's Pakistani faction, Mullah Fazlullah, The Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, in his conversation with Ghani, Mulk said that Fazlullah's death would be received throughout Pakistan with relief as Pakistanis had borne the brunt of terrorist attacks by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, which Fazlullah headed. "The media has been reporting that our emir (chief) has been martyred along with four other commanders in Marawara area of Kunar".

The Commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission and the US Forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson reaffirmed the worldwide community and coalition forces support to President Asrhaf Ghani's ceasefire initiative and offer for peace talks. Fazlullah was a bone of contention between the authorities in Pakistan and the United States with the former pointing a finger at the latter for not targeting the dreaded militant operating from his safe havens in Afghanistan.

Two years earlier, Yousafzai, 15 at the time, was gunned down in her native Swat Valley for advocating girls' education.

"Mullah Fazlullah's death is huge news", tweeted Omar Waraich, deputy South Asia director for Amnesty International.

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