3 top Pak Taliban men killed in single day?
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani military dealt a crippling blow to Tehreek-e-Taliban by killing its three top commanders,
including the group's deputy-chief Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, in Mohmand tribal region in the country's northwest, interior minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday.
Two more prominent commanders Qari Ziaur Rehman, an Afghan national and Fateh Muhammad, a close aide of Taliban chief in Swat Fazlullah, were also killed in air strikes carried out in the region on Saturday which resulted in deaths of 30 militants, Malik confirmed.
Maulvi Faqir had named himself chief of Pakistani Taliban following the killing of Baitullah Mehsud. He has publicly stated his close ties to al-Qaida No 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The Taliban leaders were killed when helicopters gunship of the Pakistan military targeted their hideouts in Pandiali area of Mohmand Agency. Security forces retrieve the body of Fateh Muhammad while the bodies of the others are yet to be recovered, Malik said.
Faqir Muhammad, who was originally based in Bajaur tribal region, moved to Mohmand Agency after security forces cleared most parts of the area. Ziaur Rehman was believed to be the head of the Taliban in Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and the US had offered a reward of $350,000 for him.
Reports said he would often move from Bajaur Agency to Afghanistan with his fighters to carry out attacks on US-led forces.
Omar Rehman alias Fateh Muhammad was best known for leading Taliban fighters from Swat into Buner, a district located 100km from Islamabad, last year. The move prompted the government to launch a major military operation to evict militants from Swat.
Malik said other militants who are on the run will also be captured and not spared. pti