PESHAWAR: A senior Taliban leader believed to be the mastermind of the Army Public School (APS) massacre may have been killed in a US drone strike, though details remain murky, a senior official told The Express Tribune.
A drone strike in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Saturday reportedly killed Umar Mansur, along with four others, but the officials claim it is still to be confirmed if he was present on the location at the time of the attack.
Reports suggest Umar Mansur was killed in Bandar area of Achin in Nanagarhar. However, officials claim it is yet to be ascertained whether he was killed in the air strike.
Another official said Mansur, along with three others, had come to meet commander Malang, a local commander when the drone struck. “We are waiting for visual proof,” he said adding, “Till then it is not 100 per cent confirmed.”
Further, an official who did not want to be named said Mansur might have been killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion.
Umar Mansur, alias Aurangzeb, was a member of the Tariq Geedar Group responsible for the 144 deaths in the Army Public School, the Peshawar Airport and the Bacha Khan University.
On May 25, the US State Department designated the group among the Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT), days after Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a similar strike.
Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in Naushki district of Balochistan on May 21 along with a driver shortly after he entered Pakistan from Iran.
A Taliban leader claimed on Sunday that Mansour was about o join peace talks when he was killed, terming the air strike part of a conspiracy to scupper peace talks.
The drone strike on May 21 had drawn strong reaction from Pakistan that termed it a violation of its territory and warned the US of strong implications of such attacks in future.