Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk described the killing of Pakistan Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah in a US drone strike in Afghanistan as a “significant development in the fight against terrorism.” Mulk made the comment in a telephone conversation last night with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and thanked him for sharing information about Fazlullah’s killing, said a Pakistan government statement.
The call was initiated by Ghani, who tweeted that Fazlullah’s killing was “the result of tireless human intel by Afghan security agencies.” A US official said the US believes that it is likely the strike killed Fazlullah, but efforts are ongoing to confirm his death. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary information.
In his tweet, Ghani said he also called Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. In both conversations Ghani said he urged Pakistan “to take practical steps to bring Afghan Taliban residing in Pakistan to the negotiation table.”
Thursday’s drone strike, which reportedly killed Fazlullah and five other insurgents when missiles slammed into the car in which they were driving, occurred just hours before Afghanistan’s Taliban began a three-day cease fire.
The cease-fire, which took effect at midnight Thursday, marks the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which follows the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when the faithful fast from sunrise to sunset. The Afghan Taliban announced their cease-fire after Ghani unilaterally declared a temporary cease-fire for the holidays on June 7.
In Afghanistan’s eastern Logar provincial capital of Pul-e-Alam dozens of unarmed Taliban celebrated the Eid holiday, several greeting Afghan security forces, provincial police chief spokesman Shahpur Ahmadzai said Saturday in a telephone interview.
“We didn’t allow them to enter the city with their weapons,” said Ahmadzai, adding at least 80 Taliban entered the city in the last two days to visit their families.