Pakistan Taliban chief Fazlullah survives drone attack
Islamabad: The chief of Pakistan Taliban Mullah Fazlullah has narrowly escaped a US drone strike in the border region of Afghanistan in which five militants were killed, officials said today.
The chief of outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was in Nazyan village of Nangarhar province of Afghanistan near Pakistan border when a drone targeted him last night. The CIA-operated unmanned aircraft fired four missiles on a compound in the village, security official said, adding at least five Pakistani and Afghan militants were killed in the attack but Fazlullah escaped unhurt.
Pakistan believes Fazlullah is hiding in Afghanistan since he escaped a military operation by army troops in his native Swat valley in 2009 and has demanded his repatriation. Pakistan has also blamed Fazlullah of sending militants to their country from his sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Fazlullah became the chief of TTP last year after his predecessor Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack last year.
So far two TTP chiefs, including the dreaded Baituallah Mehsud, have been killed in the US drone attacks. Pakistan is fighting the Taliban in its northwest tribal areas and so far more than 1,200 militants have been killed in the operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched in June this year, to flush out local and foreign militants from the region.