8th August, 2022
Abdul Wali Mohmand, also known under the alias Omar Khalid Khorasani, a top commander of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed in a bombing in Afghanistan.
The killing of the Taliban commander, who was behind some of the deadliest attacks in recent years has delivered a major blow to the Islamist militants.
The U.S. State Department had Mohmand on its wanted list and had offered a bounty of up to three million dollars for information on his whereabouts.
His vehicle was targeted by a roadside bomb in the Afghan province of Paktika, on the border with Pakistan.
The Pakistani Taliban on Monday confirmed the death and said the group would soon issue a longer statement on the killing.
At least two other commanders were also killed in the bombing on Sunday, a week after a U.S. drone strike in Kabul had killed al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Khorasani is thought to have been close to al-Qaeda’s founding leader Osama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, but it wasn’t immediately known if there was any link between the drone strike and the bombing.
At one point, Khorasani broke away from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organization for several Islamist groups, and formed his group, Jamaat ul Ahrar.
His group carried out some of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan, including a bombing in the eastern city of Lahore in 2016 that killed at least 75 people from the minority Christian community on an Easter Sunday.
Khorasani later dissolved Jamaat ul Ahrar and rejoined the TTP in a group drive to reunify several estranged groups.
The U.S. State Department described him as a former journalist and poet who studied at several madrasas in Pakistan.
There has been a fragile truce holding between Islamabad and the TTP for the past two months as peace talks brokered by the Afghan Taliban’s Haqqani network take place.
Meanwhile, the TTP has killed nearly 80,000 Pakistanis in almost two decades of violence.