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Pakistan Taliban leader killed in USA drone strike, Afghan officials say

"I confirm that Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a joint air operation", Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the ministry, told Reuters.

USA military officials told media late on June 14 that the strike targeted Mullah Maulana Fazlullah, the chief of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan or TTP, a "designated terrorist organization", in a drone operation on June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border.

"U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization", a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, also told VOA Thursday, without specifying that Fazlullah was the target.

Since then, U.S. officials said, he directed numerous high-profile attacks against American and Pakistani targets. Yousafzai was gravely wounded in a 2012 shooting after her advocacy as a youth for girls' education.

The US attack was in collaboration with Afghan forces. The Pakistani Taliban have not yet confirmed the killing of their leader but a commander of TTP, a conglomerate of at least 30 Pakistani militant groups, was trying to get information from their fighters in the region. She also became a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her struggle in support of education.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a ceasefire lasting until June 20 but on Friday suggested it could be extended.

Fazlullah had directed numerous high-profile attacks against the USA and Pakistani targets since he was appointed the group's leader in 2013, including the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 151 people, including more than 130 children.

The United States State Department in March fixed a price tag of $5-million on the TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah's head.

Fazlullah emerged as the leader of the Taliban in the Swat Valley more than a decade ago.

It may be mentioned that Pakistan and Afghanistan have held seven meetings on Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS) this year.

Fazlullah was known as a hardliner who broadcast fiery sermons and hard-line ideology via an extremist radio station.

Although the group still stages attacks in Pakistan, it is believed to have lost control of all territory in the South Asian country since its massacre of 150 people at an army school in Peshawar in December 2014 prompted the all-out government campaign against the group.

They are separate from the Afghan Taliban who ruled Afghanistan for five years before being ousted in a 2001 US -led military action.

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