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Afghan Taliban commander shot dead in Balochistan

09 January, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Unidentified assailants have shot dead a senior Afghan Taliban commander in Balochistan, two Taliban officials claimed on Friday.

Maulvi Muhammad Alam, loyal commander to Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, was shot dead Thursday evening in Kuchlak area, some 25 kilometres from Quetta, Taliban leaders said on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorised to speak to the media. “I can confirm that Maulvi Muhammad Alam has been killed. Investigations are underway but we do not have details as to who is behind the incident,” a Taliban leader, aware of the incident, said.

No group claimed responsibility for the killing. A senior Taliban leader said they are investigating motives behind what he called a high profile assassination. Meanwhile, Taliban sources said Alam led fighters against Taliban dissidents in Afghanistan’s Zabul province in recent days that left dozens of militants dead. Top Taliban commander, Mansoor Dadullah, who had rejected Akhtar Mansoor as the new chief, was among the rivals killed in Zabul. Although the Taliban routinely blame the Afghan intelligence for such target killings, some sources said it could be the result of Taliban’s internal rivalry.

Further, a Taliban leader said Maulvi Alam had strong influence in Zabul province and also sheltered many foreign fighters. The killing of the senior Taliban commander highlights the possible trend of revenge attacks in view of the Taliban infighting. However, inside Afghanistan, the Taliban factions have agreed on a ceasefire after religious clerics intervened and issued a decree to declare infighting as un-Islamic.

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