Pak-based banned terror group Lashkar-e-Islam picks its new leader

Afridi was named as the new head after members of the group held a meeting at Bander area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province
Last Updated 30 January 2021, 10:50 IST

Pakistan’s banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Islam has named Zala Khan Afridi as its new head, days after the outfit’s fugitive leader Mangal Bagh was killed in a roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan.

Afridi, a close associate of Bagh, was named as the new head after members of the group held a meeting at Bander area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The new head belongs to Akakhel tribe of Bara tehsil in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The shura (council) also nominated Bagh’s son Tayyab alias Ajnabi as the new deputy commander.

Bagh, who was involved in a number of terrorist activities and carried up to USD 3 million American bounty on his head, was killed in southern Afghanistan, media reports said on Thursday, quoting a senior Afghan official.

He was "killed along with two of his aides in the roadside bomb blast in the Bandar Dara area of Achin district of Nangarhar this morning," the Express Tribune newspaper had reported, quoting Afghanistan's Nangarhar province governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil as saying.

Bagh, a truck cleaner-turned-militant, was affiliated with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – the umbrella of militant groups operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions. His terror group was accused of attacking NATO convoys.

His group virtually ruled Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency until June 2008 when he and his armed men fled to Afghanistan after the security forces launched a military operation against the militants.

The Pakistan government had placed a bounty of Rs 20 million on the head of Bagh, who for several years was based in the Khyber Agency and ran his private prison and court.

Bagh, a member of the Afridi tribe, studied at a madrassa for several years and later fought alongside militant groups in Afghanistan.

(Published 30 January 2021, 10:50 IST)

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