Killing of Pakistan Taliban chief 'significant'

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US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Martin O'Donnell meanwhile confirmed the US Forces conducted a counterterrorism strike on Wednesday in Kunar province and that a senior leader of a terrorist organization had been targeted.

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.

It was Yousafzai's open call for girls' education and criticism of the Taliban that infuriated Fazlullah.

Ms Yousafzai survived the assassination attempt in 2012. But if the US assistance to Pakistan helps get rid of one of their most wanted terrorists and leads to an easing of tensions, that may be a good thing for the blossoming peace process in Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani confirmed Friday that Pakistani Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah has been killed in a US drone strike.

Radmanesh, the Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, said the strike that killed Fazlullah occurred early Thursday shortly before the Afghan Taliban replied to the government's cease-fire by starting a three-day truce of its own to mark Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that follows the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Fazlullah was appointed TTP chief after a United States drone strike killed his predecessor Hakimullah Mehsud in the North Waziristan region in November 2013.

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

Until recently, the Trump administration had been increasing pressure on Pakistan to halt support for Taliban responsible for attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces. But the Pentagon would not confirm Fazlullah's death, as it can take time to gather definitive proof.

In 2013, after TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a USA drone strike, Fazlullah became the new emir of the terrorist group, orchestrating the bloody terrorist attack against the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar in December, 2014 that killed more than 140 people, most of whom were schoolchildren.

Fazlullah has been reportedly "killed" several times in the past as well.

There are unconfirmed media reports that Mullah Fazlullah - the commander of the Pakistan Taliban - has been killed in the operation.

"Mullah Fazlullah was the only person that was organizing suicide attacks and explosions inside Pakistan". Washington, for its part, accuses Islamabad of providing safe havens to the powerful Haqqani network, a group involved in numerous brazen attacks on foreign forces in the war-ravaged country in recent years.

Pakistan's military says that it has killed at least 4,000 fighters working for the TTP and its allies since 2013.

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