3 Top Taliban commanders among 30 dead in Pakistan

3 Top Taliban commanders among 30 dead in Pakistan

3 Top Taliban commanders among 30 dead in Pakistan

Two more prominent commanders Qari Ziaur Rehman, an Afghan national and Fateh Muhammad, a close aide of Taliban chief in Swat Fazlullah, were also killed in air strikes carried out in the region on Friday which resulted in deaths of 30 militants, Malik confirmed.

Maulvi Faqir had named himself chief of Pakistani Taliban following the killing of Baitullah Mehsud. He has publicly stated his close ties to al-Qaeda no 2. Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The Taliban leaders were killed when helicopters gunship of the Pakistan military targeted their hideouts in Pandiali area of Mohmand Agency. Security forces retrieve the body of Fateh Muhammad while the bodies of the others are yet to be recovered, Malik said.

Faqir Muhammad, who was originally based in Bajaur tribal region, moved to Mohmand Agency after security forces cleared most parts of Bajaur Agency.

Ziaur Rehman was believed to be the head of the Taliban in Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and the US had offered a reward of USD 350,000 for him.

Reports said he would often move from Bajaur Agency to Afghanistan with his fighters to carry out attacks on US-led forces. Omar Rehman alias Fateh Muhammad was best known for leading Taliban fighters from Swat into Buner, a district located 100 km from Islamabad, last year.

The move prompted the government to launch a major military operation to evict militants from Swat. Malik said other militants who are on the run will also be captured and not spared.

Earlier, Malik visited the headquarters of the Frontier Corps in Peshawar and attended a briefing on the law and order situation in the North West Frontier Province and the tribal areas. Frontier Corps Inspector General Maj Gen Tariq Khan gave a detailed briefing on the law and order situation and operations being conducted against militants.