Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, the former deputy chief of TTP and member of the group’s central committee, along with another commander Qari Saif Peshawari were killed during a fight with forces in Afghanistan on Jan. 31, Mohammad Khurasani, the outlawed militant group spokesman said in a statement.
Khurasani did not disclose details about the clash but said he was on his way for carrying out an attack when Afghan forces stopped his way and killed him.
More insight into the assasanation of Pakistani Taliban, Sheikh Khalid Haqqani in Kabul. Still many unanswered questions.
— The Cavell Group (@TCG_CrisisRisks) February 7, 2020
Founded in 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud -hailing from the powerful Mehsud tribe of the South Waziristan tribal region- the TTP already stands divided into four groups: the Swat group, Mehsud group, Bajaur Agency group, and Darra Adamkhel group.
Haqqani, a notorious leader, hailed from Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was listed among the most wanted terrorists by Pakistani authorities for his involvement in several terror attacks in the country.
Haqqani was accused of having been in direct contact with the attackers of one of the bloodiest attacks on the Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014. It was the most brutal attack in the country’s history of terrorism that killed some 132 school children and a dozen of their staff members.
One of the main attacks that he personally participated in was the “commando attack on FC HQ [Frontier Corps Headquarters] and training facility in Shabqadar”, back in 2011 in which 80 Pakistani soldiers, recruits and civilians were killed. Taliban referred to that attack as a response to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad some days before the attack.
Back in 2012, he was also involved in the suicide attack on Bashir Ahmed Bilour, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Khalid Haqqani also took part in a failed attempt in 2008 to kill the chief of the Awami National Party, Asfandiyar Wali Khan in Charsadda district.
Analysts said the killing of Haqqani is a big hit for the TTP as he was leading their religious section, using the Taliban for propaganda.
“Haqqani was known as the top religious cleric of the group who was also issued a decree against the journalists in 2014 declaring them a ‘party’ to the conflict in the country,” Saboor Khattak, a Peshawar-based senior journalist, told Anadolu Agency.
“TTP has already split into several groups and Haqqani was an important leader of Mehsud group, Khattak added.