Pak’s top fugitive militant commander killed in roadside blast in Afghanistan

Peshawar: Pakistan’s top fugitive militant commander, who carried up to USD 3 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, was killed in a roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan, the media reports said on Thursday, quoting a senior Afghan official.

Mangal Bagh, the leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam terrorist group, was involved in a number of terrorist activities.

He was “killed along with two of his aides in the roadside bomb blast in the Bandar Dara area of Achin district of Nangarhar this morning,” the Express Tribune newspaper reported, quoting Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil as saying.

Bagh, a truck cleaner-turned-militant, was affiliated with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) the umbrella of militant groups operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions, the paper said. Several other Pakistani and Afghan media also reported his death in the roadside blast on Thursday.

His group virtually ruled Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency until June 2008 when he and his armed men fled to Afghanistan after the security forces launched a military operation against the militants.

The Pakistan government had placed a bounty of Rs 20 million on the head of Bagh, who for several years was based in the Khyber Agency and ran his private prison and court.

The US also offered rewards of up to USD 3 million for information on Bagh whose group is also accused of attacking NATO convoys.

“Bagh has led Lashkar-e-Islam since 2006 and has routinely shifted alliances to protect illicit revenue streams while enforcing an extreme version of Deobandi Islam in the areas of eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan that he controls, particularly Nangarhar province, Afghanistan,” according to US State Department’s Reward for Peace.

“His group earns revenue from drug trafficking, smuggling, kidnapping, raids on NATO convoys, and taxes on transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” it adds.

 Bagh, a member of the Afridi tribe, studied at a madrassa for several years and later fought alongside militant groups in Afghanistan.

 In 2016, Pakistani media had reported that Bagh was killed in a US drone attack in Afghanistan. However, his group had denied the reports.

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