ISLAMABAD: A Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group on Wednesday confirmed a Pakistani militant accused of involvement in attacks on GHQ and Sri Lanka’s cricket team in 2009 was killed in a US drone strike.
The unmanned US aircraft targeted a car carrying Qari Mohammad Yasin, also known as Ustad Aslam, on Sunday in the southwestern Afghan province of Paktika bordering Pakistan. Qari Yaseen who was the top commander of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was killed in a US drone, the outlawed TTP Jamaat ul Ahrar group said.
TTP JA spokesperson Asad Mansoor in a statement also confirmed Yaseen was the mastermind of the attacks on GHQ and Sri Lankan team in 2009. The TTP JA spokesperson described Yaseen as the “best adviser, trainer and teacher” among the militants, who was organising most of the attacks in Punjab.
Yaseen is the second senior LeJ leader to be killed in Afghanistan in six months. Qari Ajmal, another senior leader of the LeJ, wanted for organising the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team was killed in October 2016.
Security officials insist that like many others, senior LeJ commanders have reportedly crossed into Afghanistan following military operations in tribal regions of the country. Most of the LeJ commanders are thought to be living in Paktika province with TTP Mehsud factions.
Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department had offered a bounty of Rs2 million for Yasin, saying he was involved in the 2009 bus attack in Lahore, allegedly organised by militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
The attack on the Sri Lankan team bus led to Pakistan’s exclusion from the role of hosting major international tours. At least 10 gunmen fired on the Sri Lankan bus with rifles, grenades and rockets, wounding six players and a British coach, and killing eight Pakistanis. Since then, Pakistan has been forced to play most of its ‘home’ games in the United Arab Emirates. Pakistani police last year said they killed three other militants involved in the 2009 attack.