The leader of a Pakistani Taliban faction killed by US drone

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The head of a Pakistani Taliban faction has been killed by a US drone strike, a spokesman told AFP, on Thursday.

“The head of our (Jamaat-ul-Ahrar) organization, Umar Khalid Khorasani, who suffered severe injuries in a recent US drone strike in Pakistan’s Paktia province, died Wednesday night,” Asad Mansoor told AFP.

“At least nine close collaborators of Khorasani were also killed by this strike,” he added.

The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) organization claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the country, including a suicide attack, in a Lahore park, in March 2016, on Easter Sunday, which killed 75 people, including many children.

On Monday, two US drone strikes in a tribal area along the Afghan-Pakistan border killed at least 26 people, including fighters from the extremist Haqqani network, one of the most vicious factions of the Afghan Taliban bloody attacks against NATO forces and Afghan infrastructure in recent years.

Washington has stressed in recent months the pressure on Pakistan to repress Haqqanis, who have long been suspected of having links with the Pakistani secret services, a factor that has undermined diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the United States.

Haqqani network is also accused of holding a North American family hostage for five years, which was released last week only.

Islamabad denies being lax in the fight against extremist movements and accuses Washington of ignoring the thousands of Pakistani lives lost in the fight against terrorism.

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