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Top Taliban leader killed by Pakistan army
K J M Varma in Islamabad | June 18, 2004 17:02 IST
The Pakistan Army has killed a top Taliban commander and renegade tribal leader wanted for sheltering foreign militants, Pakistan Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat told the National Assembly on Friday.
"In a targetted missile attack on a mud-brick fortress near Afghan border, the Pakistani Army overnight killed Nek Muhammad, who was wanted for sheltering foreign militants, along with four of his associates," he said
Defence Spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said that Muhammad and his four associates were killed in South Waziristan. "The security forces were monitoring movement of Nek Muhammad," he added.
Local officials in South Waziristan said that Muhammad was hiding in a house of his friend Sher Zaman in Dug area, five kilometers away from Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.
Reports said the intelligence agents intercepted Muhammad's satellite phone conversation last night when he was talking with a friend.
"A missile was fired on the house where he was staying," a local official said. He was seriously injured and shifted to hospital, where he died early this morning.
Pakistan has been using satellite-guided technology in its current operations in Waziristan against al-Qaeda militants, which was reportedly provided by the US, whose troops, stationed in the Afghanistan side of the border, prevented the militants from crossing over to the other side.
Muhammad's death was confirmed by his family, which announced the funeral in his village at Kalosha in South Waziristan.
After the defeat of Taliban, Muhammad returned to tribal areas and became the main coordinator for the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the isolated tribal region bordering Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden and his main associates were believed to have been hiding.
He came into prominence when he 'surrendered' at a tribal assembly in the presence of a top Pakistan army commander, following a deadline given by army last month. He along with his associates was given amnesty, but the security forces kept a close watch on him.
Sultan said despite the military operations, foreign militants can still surrender.
More reports from Pakistan
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