The Taliban confirmed that a terrorist leader who was behind multiple terror attacks in Pakistan and was wanted by the US for murdering a consular official in Karachi was killed in an airstrike in North Waziristan last week.
The Taliban released a statement confirming that Qari Mohammad Zafar, a leader of the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Fedayeen-i-Islam, was killed in the Feb. 24 airstrike in the town of Dargi Mandi near North Waziristan’s main town of Miramshah. The strike hit a vehicle and a compound run by the Haqqani Network; between eight and 13 terrorists were reported killed in the attack.
The Taliban vowed to avenge Zafar’s death, and said they would strike against the Pakistani government.
''The mujahideen will soon take revenge against the Pakistani government for his killing anywhere in the country,'' the Taliban said in a statement faxed to the local Pakistani media, Dawn reported.
Zafar was a senior leader of the Fedayeen-e-Islam, an alliance between the Pakistani Taliban, the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Mohammed [see LWJ report, “Terror alliance takes credit for Peshawar hotel assault”]. The group was based in the Mehsud tribal areas in South Waziristan but fled the region after the Pakistani military began an offensive there in October 2009.
Other senior leaders of the Fedayeen-e-Islam include Qari Hussain Mehsud, the notorious Taliban commander who trains child suicide bombers; Asmatullah Moaviya, another senior aide to Baitullah who was reportedly arrested in Mianwali in Punjab province; and Rana Afzal.
The Fedayeen-e-Islam took credit for some of the more deadly attacks in Pakistan, including the September 2008 suicide attack on the Islamabad Marriott Hotel, the March 2009 storming of a police station in Lahore, and the June 2009 suicide assault on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar.