KABUL: Most wanted Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander and spokesperson Khalid Balti alias Muhammad Khorasani was killed in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, several media outlets reported on Monday.
According to media outlets, Khorasani was planning attacks against Pakistan with Noor Wali Mehsood and had hinted at attacking different targets in the country recently.
Khorasani was appointed as the new spokesperson for the terrorist group in 2014 after former commander Shahidullah Shahid declared his allegiance to Da’ish.
He had established a terrorist hub in Miranshah but after the successful “Zarb-e-Azb”, he escaped to Afghanistan. Khorasani was involved in the killing of many innocent civilians and personnel of security forces.
He was part of Mufti Noor Wali group of the TTP. Khorasani was the head of the militant group’s Umar Media wing and was the person who claimed responsibility for TTP attacks including the APS attack in Peshawar.
Last year, Pakistan had approached the Afghan Taliban leadership with a list of demands that included action against the TTP. The interim Taliban government was even provided with a list of most wanted TTP terrorists.
However, Afghan Taliban instead offered its good offices to broker a peace deal with the TTP. Pakistan accepted the offer and after some face to face meetings between the two sides, a ceasefire deal was reached in November.
Last week at a news conference Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar for the first time publicly revealed why Pakistan entered into a ceasefire with the TTP.
The chief military spokesperson said Taliban government facilitated ceasefire with TTP as a confidence building measure. The month-long ceasefire, however, was ended on December 9 with no further progress.
General Babar said talks were now on hold as some of the conditions put forward by the TTP were non-negotiable for Pakistan. As per the DG ISPR, operations against the TTP were being conducted on a daily basis and the fight against the “violent non-state actors” would continue till their threat was totally eliminated.
Despite a month-long ceasefire, the number of terrorist attacks in 2021 saw 56 per cent increase compared to 2020. Interestingly, the surge in TTP sponsored attacks was coincided with the Afghan Taliban takeover in August 2021. As per the Islamabad think-tank report August saw 45 terrorist attacks in Pakistan, the highest tally in a single month since 2017.