Describing it as a ‘great loss,’ extremist group vows to avenge the death of senior leader
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday confirmed the death of leader Khalid Balti alias Mohammad Khurasani, nearly a week after reports of his killing in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province first emerged.
TTP spokesman, who is also known as Mohammad Khurasani, confirmed the death, describing it as a “great loss,” but did not share any details on the circumstances of the death. However, he vowed, it would be avenged.
According to spokesman Khursani, the 50something Balti joined the TTP in 2011 and served as its spokesman until 2015, when he was arrested in Afghanistan. He remained imprisoned until 2021, when the Taliban took over Kabul, before being killed on Jan. 9. Following his release, he lived in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, where most of the Pakistani Taliban are believed to be hiding.
Reportedly, Balti was a key figure in an ongoing attempt to unite the various factions of the TTP. He was also accused of planning terrorist attacks with incumbent TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud.
Earlier, a spokesman for the Afghan government had denied that the senior TTP leader had been killed in Afghanistan.