Shafaqna Pakistan: Days after the killing of two Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders in Afghanistan, another dreaded leader of the group, Sheheryar Mehsud, died in a blast in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar on Wednesday evening, tribesman and militants confirmed.
“Sheheryar (Mehsud) is also gone,” a Mehsud tribesman, who received confirmation about the death, told Arab News on condition of anonymity.
The militant was killed by a roadside improvised explosive device (IED).
Last week, two top TTP commanders – Sheikh Khalid Haqqani and Qari Saifullah Peshawari – were killed, reportedly in a clash with security forces in Afghanistan.
According to a statement by Nusratullah Nusrat, self-proclaimed spokesman of the TTP’s Hakimullah Mehsud group, “the leader of Hakimullah Mehsud group, Sheheryar Mehsud has achieved the status of martyr.”
He added the group had appointed Maulana Wali Muhammad alias Umari as its new chief.
Journalist Adnan Bitani who has extensively covered militancy in the region said that the killing of Mehsud will deal a severe blow to his faction within the TTP.
He said Mehsud was relatively close to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Al-Qaeda remnants because of his matchless trust and reputation within the TTP.
“After Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, Sheheryar Mehsud had strong position within the group. His killing has left huge vacuum,” Bitani said.
Mehsud, a South Waziristan native in his early 40s, rose to prominence in TTP following the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike in North Waziristan tribal district in November 2013, after which Mullah Fazlullah took over as the group’s top commander.
Aggressive and well-built, he was closely associated with Hakimullah, the tribesman said. The recent killing will ultimately strengthen the position of Mehsud’s rival, Noor Wali Mehsud.
Noor Wali took over TTP leadership in 2018, following the killing of Fazlullah in Afghanistan.
Last year, the United States designated him as a global terrorist.