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Mastermind of Peshawar army school massacre killed in Afghanistan

On May 25, the US State Department had declared Umar Mansour a global terrorist, thus clearing the path for his inclusion in the hit-list

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Army public school Peshawar after the attack. Image Source: www.dawn.com
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  • Umar Mansour was killed, along with another militant leader Qari Saifullah, in the US drone attack in the Bandar area of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Saturday
  • On May 25, the US State Department had declared Umar Mansour a global terrorist, thus clearing the path for his inclusion in the hit-list
  • Mansour orchestrated the attack on December 16, 2014, on the Army Public School which killed 122 students and 22 teachers

Senior Pakistani security officials claimed, the mastermind behind Peshawar massacre at Army Public School in 2014 has been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan.

The officials told Dawn on Monday, July 11, that Umar Mansour was killed, along with another militant leader Qari Saifullah, in the US drone attack in the Bandar area of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Saturday, July 9.

Qari Saifullah. Image Source: alaiwah.wordpress.com
Qari Saifullah. Image Source: alaiwah.wordpress.com

One of the officials said they had credible reports of Mansour having been killed with Saifullah, who was in charge of suicide bombers.

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“What we have is pretty credible,” the official said.

On May 25, the US State Department had declared Umar Mansour a global terrorist, thus clearing the path for his inclusion in the hit-list.

The State Department’s announcement came four days after a drone strike killed Afghan Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour in Balochistan on May 21.

Peshawar attack victims.Image Source: tribune.com.pk
Peshawar attack victims.Image Source: tribune.com.pk

Mansour orchestrated the attack on December 16, 2014, on the Army Public School which killed 122 students and 22 teachers. It was one of the worst terrorist attacks which prompted the government to declare an all-out war against terrorist outfits in the country.

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Mansour and Saifullah belonged to Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) Tariq Geedar group and used to operate in Peshawar and adjoining Frontier Region Peshawar and Darra Adamkhel.

Umar Mansour. Image Source: www.dawn.com
Umar Mansour. Image Source: www.dawn.com

Mansour fled to Afghanistan following a military operation in Khyber tribal region and continued to operate from there. He was held responsible for the September 2015 attack on a Pakistan Air Force base in Peshawar’s Badaber area, which killed 29 people.

He was also behind the January 2016 attack on the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda in which 18 students and faculty members lost their lives. (IANS)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Finally, God had done justice with all the innocent children who were victims of Peshawar Army School massacre.

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.