A U.S. drone airstrike in southeastern Afghanistan has killed a Pakistani militant commander accused of involvement in several deadly attacks, Pakistani media reported.
Qari Mohammad Yasin, also known as Ustad Aslam, and three other militants were targeted by a U.S. unmanned aircraft that struck his car on Sunday in the Afghan province of Paktika bordering Pakistan, according to Pakistani security sources.
U.S. officials did not respond to a VOA request seeking comment. The Pentagon routinely does not comment on drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Masterminded suicide attacks
The 51-year-old Yasin, who was from Pakistan’s Punjab province, had a bounty of about $48,000 on his head. Punjab authorities named him one of the most wanted men who masterminded several suicide attacks in different parts of the country.
He was involved in several high-profile terrorist attacks in Pakistan, according to Pakistani intelligence. The attacks included one on a bus carrying Sri Lanka’s cricket team in 2009 and a bomb blast at Data Darbar, a Sufi shrine in Lahore. Specialized in training suicide bombers, Yasin also was an expert in making improvised explosive devices, authorities say.
According to reports, Yasin also was associated with the Amjad Farooqi group, a militant organization that engineered two assassination attempts against former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in 2003. Later, Yasin became a key member of the Punjabi Taliban, a militant group aligned with al-Qaida’s subcontinent chapter in Pakistan and other militant groups that fight government and international forces in Afghanistan.
Yasin’s death confirmed
Pakistan’s military has been carrying out an operation to clear militants from the tribal region of Punjab since 2014. The operation has forced many Pakistani militants to cross into neighboring Afghan provinces.
Ali bin Sufyan, a spokesperson for the Pakistani militant organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Alami, confirmed Yasin’s death, saying the group carried out a bomb attack against Pakistan’s military in the southwestern province of Baluchistan as “revenge.”
Al Alami is an offspring of the militant sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi organization in Pakistan, which has ties to the Afghan Taliban, al-Qaida and most recently Islamic State militants. The group has been linked by law enforcement to high-profile attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A Pakistani militant who claimed to be one of the spokespersons for the Pakistani Taliban said the group would target U.S. forces in Kandahar and Bagram in Afghanistan to avenge Yasin’s death.
VOA’s Deewa service contributed to this report.