Swat Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah killed in Afghanistan clashes

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Kabul, May 27 (ANI): Top Taliban commander Mullah Fazlullah has reportedly been killed in a clash with Afghan security forces near the Pakistan border.

Fazlullah, who headed the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) Swat chapter, was killed along with his six close associates in Barg Matal district of Afghanistan's Nuristan province, a top Afghan security official said.

"Maulvi Fazlullah was killed in direct clash with Afghan border police last night," Mohammad Zaman Mamozai, chief of the Afghan border force, said.

The TTP, however, has not confirmed Fazlullah's death and said that reports regarding him being involved in fighting against the Afghan and international forces in Afghanistan were untrue.

"He (Fazlullah) could be in Nuristan because the Taliban have been moving back and fourth along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He may be living in Nuristan but he is not engaged in any fighting there," Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, chief of the Taliban's Bajaur faction had said earlier.

It may be noted that Fazlullah, in an interview to the BBC last November, had said that he has sneaked into Afghanistan to escape the Pakistan Army's offensive in the Swat valley, and other tribal regions controlled by the TTP.

Earlier media reports said that the Afghan security officials had called for reinforcements after hundreds of extremists led by Fazlullah, also known as Radio Mullah, engaged in fierce clashes with security forces in Nuristan.

The Afghan Interior Ministry had also confirmed that at least seven Taliban and two policemen were killed in an intense battle between the Afghan police and extremists so far.

According to the BBC nearly 300 insurgents commanded by Fazlullah, who has a bounty of five million rupees, had entered the area earlier this week.

Last year, media reports said Fazlullah has been grievously injured in an airstrike and was on his deathbed.

The Pakistan Military had also confirmed that the Taliban warlord was hit in an airstrike, but added that there was not many details available regarding his whereabouts.

"Maulana Fazlullah has been hurt in an airstrike.But we cannot confirm his exact condition at the moment," Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas had said. (ANI)

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