Pakistan minister believes Taliban leaders are killed
Pakistan ‘s Interior Minister Rehman Malik Saturday said he believes deputy of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Maulvi Faqir Muhammad and two other top commanders have been killed in a military strike
On Friday official sources said that Faqir was among 30 militants killed in Mohmand tribal region near Peshawar , the capital of North West Frontier Province .
Qari Zia-ur-Rehman, who is an Afghan national but was leading militants in Pakistan ’s Bajaur tribal region, was also believed to be killed when gunship helicopters shelled a militants’ hideout.
Malik told reporters in Peshawar he would be surprised if Faqir and Zia-ur-Rehman survived the attack, saying that both had been in the compound with other militants at the time of the shelling.
Taliban have not reacted to the minister’s statement.
Maulvi Faqir was based in Bajaur tribal area and is believed to have moved to Mohmand agency after the security forces took control of Bajaur near the Afghan border.
Both Maulvi Faqir and Qari Zia were wanted by the Pakistani government.
Malik confirmed the death of senior TTP commander Fateh in the same strike and said his body has been recovered. However he said that bodies of Faqir and Zia-ur-Rehman have not been recovered so far. He said the situation would be clear in a couple of days.
Analysts said that it would be a serious blow to the Pakistani Taliban if the death of Faqir and Zia-ur-Rehman is confirmed.
On Thursday too, Pakistani security forces had also killed 30 militants in Mohmand agency.
The army announced on Wednesday that they had cleared Bajaur tribal region, bordering Afghanistan, from the militants.
Last month Faqir conceded that the militants have lost their strongholds in Bajaur and asked his fighters to stop fighting against the Pakistani forces.
Local tribesmen believe that Faqir had also reached a secret understanding with the government.
Faqir had declared himself as the head of the TTP days after Taliban confirmed the death of Baitullah Mehsud who was killed in a U.S drone strike in South Waziristan tribal region in August last year. Taliban later nominated Hakimullah Mehsud new leader whose fate is also uncertain after a U.S drone strike in mid-January. Officials believe he was killed but Taliban deny the claim.