Home Global Village US drone strike kills chief of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar in Afghanistan

US drone strike kills chief of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar in Afghanistan

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar
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News Desk |

The chief of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), has been killed in a US drone strike, a spokesman for the group confirmed to AFP on Thursday.

“Chief of our Jamaat-ul-Ahrar Umar Khalid Khorasani, who sustained serious injuries in a recent US drone strike in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, succumbed to his injuries Wednesday evening,” JuA spokesman Asad Mansoor told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. “At least nine close associates of Khorasani were also killed in the strike,” he added.

Read more: Leader of Jammat-ul-Ahrar killed in US drone…

The commander of the banned militant group hails from Mohmand Agency and goes by the alias, Abdul Wali. The JuA based in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan has been involved in more than 100 terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

At least 31 people died in three drone strikes near the Pak-Afghan border in Afghanistan conducted on midnight of 16-17 October 2017. On Tuesday, the US conducted a drone attack in the Khanachi area of Paktia, and killed five people and injured one.

In July this year, Pakistan welcomed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decision to include JuA in the list of entities subject to travel bans, arms embargos and freezing of assets.

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US drone strikes against terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan

At least 31 people died in three drone strikes near the Pak-Afghan border in Afghanistan conducted on midnight of 16-17 October 2017. On Tuesday, the US conducted a drone attack in the Khanachi area of Paktia, and killed five people and injured one.

According to sources, the strikes targetted hideouts of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Haqqani Network and a total of 10 missiles were fired.

Later in the day, another drone attack killed at least six people and injured one other in the Ghuzdari area of the same province. A day earlier on Monday, 20 people were reportedly killed and 10 injured in a drone attack near the same area. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) reportedly fired six missiles during the strike.

According to sources, the strikes targetted hideouts of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Haqqani Network and a total of 10 missiles were fired.

Read more: Was US ready to send special forces…

Who was Umar Khalid Khorasani?

Khorasani (aka Abdul Wali) was a former journalist from Mohmand agency. He is considered as one of the founding members of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He was a commander within the terrorist organization and was given charge of the Khyber agency chapter where he fought government forces and allied militias.

Later on, he left TTP and joined JuA as one of its central commanders. Analysts believe Khorasani had strong links to Al Qaeda and its chief, Ayman Al-Zawahiri and acquired funds and tactics from this trans-national terror group.

The JuA first came to prominence when it claimed responsibility for the 2014 Wagah attack. At least 61 people were killed in the attack and over 100 others were injured. The terror group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Pakistan in recent times, particularly those targeting military and law enforcement personnel, government buildings, politicians, minority groups, and lawyers.

Khorasani previously led a faction called Ahrarul Hind, which claimed several attacks during a ceasefire period between the government and Taliban in 2014, including one on an Islamabad court complex that killed 12 people.

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The JuA first came to prominence when it claimed responsibility for the 2014 Wagah attack. At least 61 people were killed in the attack and over 100 others were injured. The terror group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Pakistan in recent times, particularly those targeting military and law enforcement personnel, government buildings, politicians, minority groups, and lawyers.

The launch of this terror group exacerbated the problems for LEA’s in the country which were already overstretched. However, the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and later Radd-ul-Fasad resulted in the elimination of thousands of terrorists. JuA has been severely weakened as a result of these operations.

Drones will hurl missiles 

The strikes do not come as a surprise to keen watchers and pundits of the region. Even before the announcement of the new South Asia policy, an increase in the scope and scale of drone operations was on the cards. This is the second strike after the promulgation of the new policy; the strike in Kurram Agency last month killed three suspected militants.

Despite recent offers of joint military operations against the Haqqani Network, such outrageous jointness is untenable as analysts believe that it would be marred by mistrust and issues of sovereignty.

The Pakistani military who had earlier taken exceptions to drone strikes has not issued a statement till now. Previously, COAS Gen Bajwa had been quoted as saying by the ISPR: ”Drone strikes are counterproductive and against [the] spirit of ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan. ”He had asserted that “Pakistan Army is capable of taking effective measure if actionable intelligence is shared.”

Read more: A new arrangement between the US and…

Despite recent offers of joint military operations against the Haqqani Network, such outrageous jointness is untenable as analysts believe that it would be marred by mistrust and issues of sovereignty. The rescue of the Coleman-Boyle family amplified the importance of cooperation between the two countries.Analysts are positive that slowly both countries are coming to grips with each other’s concerns.

A possibility of new arrangements on drone strikes cannot be ruled out; it is believed that if US drones target anti-Pakistan militants in Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jamat ul Ahrar in Afghanistan, Pakistan may soften its stance on the drone program. Pundits are optimistic that better ties at the military level can lead to closer cooperation between the two countries. However, experts believe that events at the tactical level can only translate into improvements at higher levels through continuous and meaningful engagements.


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