The Taliban on Monday confirmed the killing of a top Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander, Omar Khalid Khorasani in Afghanistan and sought an investigation of the incident from the Taliban government.
According to Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khorasani, "Senior TTP leader Omar Khalid Khorasani and two other members of the banned outfit were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan on Sunday evening." In a statement today, TTP officials said that the car carrying Omar came under attack in the eastern Paktika province near the Barmal district on Sunday evening, the Dawn reported.
They urged the Taliban government in Afghanistan to investigate the incident and unearth "spies" who could be responsible for the death of senior TTP leaders, the Dawn reported.
Omar Khalid Khorasani, a former journalist and poet, who studied at several madrasas in Pakistan's Karachi previously headed the TTP in the Mohmand Agency bordering Afghanistan. His real name was Abdul Wali Mohmand.
Apart from Omar, the two other men killed in the attack have been identified as Mufti Hassan and Hafiz Dawlat Khan. They were among several TTP leaders who had joined the outlawed Daesh in 2014.
Recently, a jirga member had posted the TTP leader's photo on the sideline of its meeting with Pakistan's side which had held two rounds of talks in Kabul in the first week of June and late July.
Omar and a majority of the TTP members from the Mohmand agency had parted ways with the TTP and formed a splinter faction Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat Ahrar (TTP-JA) in 2014.
The then TTP chief Maulvi Fazalullah had sacked him after he had announced the formation of his own group Jamaat ul Ahrar, which comprised almost all the Taliban leaders from the Mohmad Agency. Omar had accused the TTP leadership of deviating from the outfit's ideology.
The TTP leader's killing could be seen as a major blow to the group, especially at a time when it is involved in talks with the Pakistani government, the Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, the United States added Omar's name to the US State Department's Rewards for Justice wanted list in March 2018. US government had a reward of up to USD 3 million for information on Abdul Wali Mohmand.
"Wali is the leader of Jamaat ul-Ahrar (JuA), a militant faction affiliated with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Under Wali's leadership, JuA has been one of the most operationally active TTP networks in Punjab Province, Pakistan and has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks throughout Pakistan," said Rewards for Justice (RFJ), US Department of State's premier national security rewards programme.
"Wali reportedly operates from Afghanistan's Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces. Wali was born in Mohmand Agency, Pakistan. He is a former journalist and poet and studied at several madrasas in Karachi, Pakistan," RFJ added.
Another top TTP leader Abdul Rashid also killed in landmine blast
On Monday, another top TTP leader Abdul Rashid, who belonged to Bajaur tribal district, was also killed in a landmine blast in Kunar province.
In January this year, the TTP confirmed the death of senior leader Mufti Khalid Balti alias Mohammad Khorasani in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
The ongoing peace talks between the TTP and Pakistan government reached a stalemate as the outlawed group refused to give in on its demand for the reversal of the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Despite a series of meetings between the two sides in recent weeks to break the impasse, there has also been a stalemate over the issue of TTP laying down arms in case of a peace deal, The Express Tribune reported.
Talks between the two sides began in October 2021 to seek a political solution to the issue. The talks that were held at the request of the Afghan Taliban led to a one-month ceasefire in November. However, the truce could not last long as differences emerged soon.