Published On: Thu, Jul 14th, 2016

Mastermind of the 2014 attack on a Pakistani APS school has been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan

Mastermind of the 2014 attack on a Pakistani APS school has been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan.

The mastermind of the 2014 attack on a Pakistani school that killed some 150 people, mainly children, has been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s military said on Wednesday.

Umar Narai, also known as Khalifa Umar Mansoor and Khalid Khurasani, died in Nangarhar province on Sunday.

A US army general confirmed the death of the Pakistani Taliban militant in a phone call to Pakistan’s army chief, said army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa.

In Kabul, the US military confirmed it had conducted a counterterrorism strike in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar on Sunday but gave no details.

Narai had admitted to training and dispatching a Taliban suicide squad to the school in Peshawar. The attack killed some 150 people, 144 of them children. He also planned an attack on a university in northwestern Pakistan earlier this year that killed 21 students and teachers.

Shortly after the school attack, Narai and his group of militants were disowned by the main branch of the Pakistani Taliban.

The Pakistani Taliban made no official comment on Narai’s death. One senior member of the movement said it had decided not to comment until a successor had been chosen to head up Narai’s splinter group.

“It’s a huge loss to the small but most effective Taliban faction of Khalifa Umar Mansoor (Narai),” the commander said. “There is no such prominent figure of his status to run his organisation.”

The US strike was the second in the space of two months against a senior insurgent leader close to the frontier between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In May, Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, leader of the Afghan Taliban, was killed by a drone on the Pakistani side of the border.

In recent years the Pakistani Taliban has killed tens of thousands of people in its campaign to overthrow the government and impose Sharia.

Pakistan’s insurgency began after the US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan in 2001, leading to a spillover of militants across the border and a recruitment surge for Pakistani extremist groups.

Although Pakistan is at war with the Pakistani Taliban, it is widely seen as turning a blind eye to the Afghan Taliban and other extremist groups, viewing them as a way to enhance its regional influence.

In 2014, however, under US pressure, the Pakistani army launched Operation Zar-e-Azb in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the country’s North Waziristan tribal area and bring an end to the violence.

The killing of Narai in a US drone strike could indicate improved relations between Washington and Islamabad, allies that have had fraught ties over the years.

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