Senior Jamaat ul-Ahrar militant commander shot dead in Paktika

A senior commander of Jamaat ul-Ahrar (JuA), a banned outfit in Pakistan, was shot dead by unknown assailants in the eastern Paktika province on Friday.

Mohammad Duadzai, known as the Karachi chief of (JuA), was gunned down in the province’s Sharana city and was allegedly behind some of the deadliest attacks, target killings, and extortions in recent years, the Pakistani Express Tribune newspaper said.

Duadzai’s two brothers, named Mian Jaffar and Qari Qadim, were also reportedly killed in military operations by US and NATO forces in the country before the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

Kunar and Nuristan provinces are considered the JuA’s strongholds, sources within the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told the Express Tribune.

The TTP is an umbrella organization of numerous militant groups in Pakistan, which aims to overthrow the Pakistani government and establish Islamic Sharia law. JuA is one of the factions within the TTP which developed differences with the TTP in recent years.

According to the Express Tribune, JuA broke away from the group following its founder, Omar Khalid Khorasani’s, killing in August 2022 in eastern Afghanistan in a mysterious blast blamed by his group on Pakistani agencies.

The TTP has resurged in Pakistan following the Taliban takeover, raging deadly attacks against the Pakistani security forces and civilians. Islamabad has been pressing Kabul to rein in cross-border TTP violence and complaining that the group enjoys “greater operational freedom” under Taliban rule.

Recent reports suggest that the Taliban and the Pakistani government reached a “strategic deal” where the former vowed to relocate TTP members across tribal belts bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, triggering concerns and outrage.

Last month, local sources revealed that the Taliban initiated the relocation of TTP members to Afghanistan, with around 320 armed fighters being moved to northeastern Takhar province.