Militants claim Khawery Mehsud was killed by a U.S. drone in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Taliban on Thursday said a U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan had killed a senior commander who was a close associate of two of the group’s former chiefs.
“Commander Khawery Mehsud embraced martyrdom in a U.S. drone strike, along with two others, in Afghan territory” near Kurram Agency on Wednesday, said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khorasani. A Pakistani security official confirmed there was a drone strike in the area at the time.
Mehsud, who hailed from South Waziristan, was among the founding members of the Pakistani Taliban when it was formed in 2007. He was a close associate of its first and second leaders, Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud, who were both killed in separate U.S. drone strikes, Khorasani said in a statement.
“Khawery Mehsud was the key battle commander of Baitullah Mehsud and was a close associate and personal bodyguard of Hakimullah Mehsud,” added the spokesman.
A NATO spokesman did not confirm the killing, but said: “There were two U.S. forces precision strikes in eastern Afghanistan yesterday. One in Kunar and one in Khost,” which borders the Kurram region.