Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the banned terror outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was targeted and killed in a US drone strike on June 13th, according to a report from the Voice of America Radio. The US defense sources also confirmed the reports of Fazlullah’s death to Dawn News. The global terrorist carried a bounty of $5 million, and a lot of people in Washington and Islamabad wanted Mullah Fazlullah dead, but the TTP is yet to confirm the reports of his death.
Fazlullah took over as the chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in 2013 following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike. The US drone strike targeting Mullah Fuzlullah took place in the Nur Gul Kalay village of Dangam district in the Kunar province of Afghanistan. Four other TTP commanders identified as Sajid, Umar, Imran, and Abu Bakar were also killed.
When the US drone struck Mullah Fazlullah dead, the terrorist was having an Iftar party with his commanders. Though US media outlets have confirmed the death of Fazlullah, the US, Pakistan, or Afghanistan haven’t yet officially confirmed his death. A US military official told CNN, “US forces conducted a counter terrorism strike on June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization.” The official did not specify that Fazlullah was the primary target.
The designated terrorist had been on the run since the Pakistani Army gunned down most of his loyalists in a major military operation about nine years ago in Swat district. Fazlullah was often referred to as ‘Mullah Radio,’ ‘Maulana Radio’ or ‘Radio Mullah’ due to his fiery Islamic sermons on a pirate ratio station. His radio sermons were so fierce that women in the Swat valley would donate their jewelry to his cause and ask their husbands to join his jihad.
Mullah Fazlullah dead. Or is he?
Military officials in the US, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have declared Mullah Fazlullah dead many times in the past. So, the latest report should be taken with a bit of skepticism, even though he might have been the primary target of the US drone strike. Since 2009, he has been declared dead more than five times.
Fazlullah has been dead and then not dead so many times before. Healthy skepticism is in order. https://t.co/IdhZ301f4k
— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) June 14, 2018
The Wilson Center associate Michael Kugelman said in a tweet, “Fazlullah has been dead and then not dead so many times before. Healthy skepticism is in order.”
A little background on Fazlullah
According to the US military, Fazlullah is the same terrorist who attempted the assassination of Malala Yousafzai when she was only 15. The terrorist stopped Malala’s school bus, stormed into the bus, and asked ‘Who is Malala?’ He then shot her in the head. Malala survived the attack, and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
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The terrorist had also claimed responsibility for the killing of about 150 school children at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014. He said the attack on innocent school children was in response to Pakistan Army’s operation to eradicate terrorist hideouts in the country.
His family members once tried to persuade him away from radical Islam. He was so blinded that he even shot two of his uncles dead. Mullah Fazlullah had taken full control of Pakistan’s Swat Valley from 2007 to 2009. According to Pakistani media reports, his son Abdullah was also killed in a US drone strike in the past.