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Updated: March 6, 2010 23:01 IST

Top Pakistani Taliban commander believed killed

AP
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In this file photo, members of Lashkar, or local citizens’ militia to fight against the Taliban, greet Pak soldiers in the Bajur region on the border with Afghanistan. Officials say a top Pak Taliban commander is believed to have died in an Army airstrike in the region on Saturday.
AP
In this file photo, members of Lashkar, or local citizens’ militia to fight against the Taliban, greet Pak soldiers in the Bajur region on the border with Afghanistan. Officials say a top Pak Taliban commander is believed to have died in an Army airstrike in the region on Saturday.

Officials say a top Pakistani Taliban commander is believed to have died in a Pakistan Army airstrike.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammed’s death would be the latest blow to insurgents who have threatened Pakistan and U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Two intelligence officials say he likely died along with two dozen other militants on Friday in the northwest Mohmand tribal area. They spoke on condition of anonymity since they are not authorised to talk to the media.

Mohammed ran the Pakistani Taliban’s operations in the Bajur region and is thought to be close to al-Qaeda No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik says he would be surprised if Mohammed is alive. Independent confirmation is nearly impossible to get immediately in the remote area.

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