PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Afghan security forces have killed one of the top Pakistani Taliban commanders along with at least 10 other militants in a border area operation, sources said late Sunday.
Raeas Khan, also known as Azam Khan Tariq, had a 20 million rupee ($190,740) bounty on his head and was the fourth-highest ranking commander in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
“I confirm the killing of Azam Tariq along with at least 10 other Pakistani Taliban in Paktika province,” a senior commander loyal to Tariq told AFP, requesting anonymity.
The nature of the operation was unclear, but three sources in the militant group said Tariq and his associates were killed in the Laman area of the Afghan province, which is near Pakistan’s South Waziristan region.
Tariq worked as chief TTP spokesman from 2009 until 2013 and was a close aide to former TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan in 2013.
In 2009 the Pakistani government offered $5 million for information leading to the capture of TTP commanders.
Tariq was top of the list as three other commanders had been killed — either in US drone strikes or in Pakistani military operations.
He had been working as spokesman for the Mehsud faction of the TTP prior to his death.
Pakistan has demanded that Kabul hand over fugitive TTP chief Maulana Fazlullah, who is reportedly hiding in eastern Afghanistan.
Both nations have accused each other of allowing militants to shelter in the border regions and launch bloody attacks that threaten regional stability.