ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar has confirmed the death of one of its key commanders in latest air strikes in Khyber Agency.
Group’s spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said their commander Abu Jandal was killed in the bombing on Sunday.
“Abu Jandal belonged to Mohmand tribal agency and had been operating from Khyber agency,” said Ehsan.
Jamaatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide attack which killed nearly 60 people at Wagha border on November 2. The group was launched in August after some senior commanders parted ways with the TTP over serious differences.
“Yesterday on 9/11/14, enemy indiscriminately bombed the area and as a result Commander Abu Jandal of TTP Jamaatul Ahrar embraced shahadah,” Ehsan said in a statement.
A military statement had also mentioned the killing of a senior commander along 12 other terror suspects in Khyber Agency’s air strikes on Sunday. The ISPR statement did not name the slain commander.
“In precise aerial strikes in Aka Khel Tirah, Khyber Agency 10 militant hideouts and an ammunition depot was destroyed. Thirteen terrorists were killed including an important terrorist commander known for training suicide bombers. Two suicide bombers were also included among those killed,” the statement said.
The security forces last month opened a new front against the Lashkar-e-Islam group, blamed for attacks on forces and tribal elders in Khyber Agency.
Khyber Agency is a key supply route for the US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan and the government wants to make it secure for the withdrawal of heavy machinery of foreign troops.
The TTP has announced support for the Lashkar-e-Islam and group’s chief Maulvi Fazalullah said he has asked his fighters to join the fighting. The Jamaatul Ahrar also said it has sent 50 fighters to help the Lashkar-e-Islam.
“The mujahideen of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar understand the importance of this area and operation and we have decided to aid the mujahideen of Khyber. One 50-strong contingent of our Jamaat is already busy fighting in Khyber Agency where intense fighting in going on at the moment,” Ehsanullah said.
Security sources describe the statement as a propaganda stunt and said the militants are on the run.