ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s main Taliban group, Tehreek-e-Taliban, announced on Monday that the deputy chief of the group had been killed in a United States drone strike in northwestern tribal areas.
According to TTP spokesperson Muhammed Khurasani, Khan Sayed was killed early Feb. 8 in a US drone attack in the town of Gorvek in North Waziristan.
“The central leadership of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan confirms the martyrdom of deputy emir (chief) of the tehreek Khan Sayed AKA Khalid Mehsud,” Khurasani said in a statement sent to EFE.
The TTP said Sayed had also been the chief of the Mehsud Halqa faction and that, following his death, the top leadership had appointed Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud as emir of the group.
However, the Taliban have not yet announced a new deputy chief.
Several top leaders of the TTP and the Afghan Taliban have been killed in US drone strikes on Pakistani territory.
In October, the TTP confirmed the death of the mastermind of the 2014 attack on a Pakistani school, in which 125 students were killed, some 15 months after Pakistan announced that the terrorist had died in a US bombing.
In May 2016, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mansour, was also killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan, meeting the same fate as the head of TTP, Hakimullah Mehsud, did in 2013.
Since 2004, the US has carried out around 410 drone attacks in Pakistan that have claimed between 2,361 and 3,688 lives, according to the American think tank New America, although strikes have reduced in recent years.