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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US strike kills senior Pakistani Taliban leader

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Jan 2, IRNA -- A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has been reported killed in a U.S drone strike in Waziristan tribal region, officials in region said Friday.

Haji Omar Khan was among four people killed in the drone attack near Mir Ali, a main town in North Waziristan tribal region late Thursday night.

Haji Omar Khan, who had been the chief of Pakistani in South Waziristan in 2006, was staying at a guest house of a local tribesman Karim Khan when the drone hit the house.

US drones conducted two strikes in North Waziristan region in 12 hours, killing 7 people, according to officials and authorities.

Taliban have yet to release any statement acknowledging his death.

US unmanned predator aircraft regularly conducts strikes in Waziristan tribal region despite countless objections by Pakistan, aminly since dozens of civilians have lsot their lives in such attacks.

The US had stepped up attacks inside Pakistan’s tribal areas last year and the new year started with early morning strike.

Haji Omar, in his 50s, was born in Kalushah, a small village some 10km from Wana, the center of South Waziristan.

Sources close to him say that he had spent half his life fighting on various fronts in Afghanistan.

Omar, like most of Taliban leaders, fought against the erstwhile Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the 1980s and also against the U.S-led NATO forces.

Omar had been very close to slain Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud as well as the Haqqani network, which is run by Siraj Haqqani, the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former Taliban minister.

He had served as a member of a tribal peace committee to negotiate peace accords with the Pakistani government from 2004 to 2006. He was appointed Taliban Chief after the murder of former Taliban Commander Nek Muhammad, who was also killed in a US airstrike in 2004.

Omar’s brother, Noor Islam Khan, was also a Taliban leader with close ties to Arab and Uzbek al-Qaeda militants in South Waziristan.


End News / IRNA / News Code 872309

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