Drone strike on Pakistani Taliban leader fails to explode, TTP sources say

A drone strike hit a house just inside Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, apparently targeting a senior member of the Pakistani Taliban, but the missile failed to explode, Reuters quoting Pakistani Taliban sources said on Thursday.

One of the Pakistani Taliban officials said the drone fired a missile at a hujra, or guesthouse on the compound of Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, a senior leader of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan movement (TTP), read the report.

“It was around 3:30 when a drone suddenly appeared in the sky. We got worried and advised Maulvi Faqir to go to a safe place but he refused and argued it was not possible to hide in the daytime,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the report around half an hour later, when Faqir Mohammad left his own house to visit the guesthouse, the missile struck.

“He was about 3 metres away from the hujra room when the drone fired a missile and hit the same room. Luckily the missile didn’t explode and he and other people around him remained safe,” he said.

Faqir Mohammad is a former deputy leader of the TTP who spent eight years in Afghanistan’s Bagram prison before being released by the Afghan Taliban [Islamic Emirate] following their shock overthrow of the Western-backed government in Kabul on Aug. 15.

The apparent attempt to kill him in a drone strike came after talks to agree a permanent ceasefire between the TTP and the Pakistani government broke down last week after the militant movement refused to extend a 30-day truce.

According to Reuters the TTP, which has fought for years to overthrow the government in Islamabad, is a separate movement from the Afghan Taliban [Islamic Emirate] but TTP fighters and senior leaders have long been known to shelter in the lawless eastern border regions of Afghanistan.