U.S. strike in Afghanistan targets Taliban leader

U.S. officials confirm American strike in Afghanistan targeted Pakistani Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah, but do not confirm he was killed.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Jihadists (illustration)
Jihadists (illustration)

An American strike in Afghanistan targeted Pakistani Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah, U.S. officials told AFP on Friday, after the Afghan defense ministry said the leader had been killed.

Fazlullah is believed to have ordered the failed 2012 assassination of Malala Yousafzai, who became a global symbol of the fight for girls' rights to schooling, and who later won the Nobel Peace Prize.

U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike on Thursday in eastern Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But the Pentagon would not confirm Fazlullah's death, as it can take time to gather definitive proof.

"We targeted (Fazlullah) but we're not ready to call jackpot yet," a U.S. defense official told AFP.

A second defense official also confirmed the strike had targeted Fazlullah.

Afghanistan's defense ministry spokesman said Fazlullah was among those killed in the strike.

There was no official confirmation from Pakistan, but a Pakistani senior security source told AFP that Fazlullah is believed to have been killed.

The State Department in March announced a $5 million reward for help locating Fazlullah, who has been linked to bloody attacks in Pakistan and the 2010 attempted Times Square car bombing in New York.

Fazlullah's group was behind the massacre of more than 150 people at a Peshawar school in December 2014, and nine dead in another attack in December 2017 in the same city.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)