Pakistan says school attack mastermind killed by US drone
ISLAMABAD (AP) – The mastermind of a 2014 attack on a Pakistani school that killed some 150 people, mainly children, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s military said Wednesday.
A U.S. Army general confirmed the death of Taliban leader Khalifa Umar Mansoor in a phone call to Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif, army spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa said.
He did not say where or when the drone strike took place. Pakistani media reported a drone strike in eastern Afghanistan earlier this week, saying it killed several militants.
Mansoor, also known as Umar Naray and Khalid Khurasani, had claimed responsibility for training and dispatching a Taliban suicide squad to the school in Peshawar. The attack killed some 150 people, 144 of them children. He also planned an attack on a university in northwestern Pakistan earlier this year that killed 21 students and teachers.
Shortly after the school attack, Mansoor and his group were disowned by the main branch of the Pakistani Taliban, which has killed tens of thousands of people in recent years in its campaign to overthrow the government and impose Islamic law.
The killing of Mansoor in a U.S. drone strike could indicate improved relations between Washington and Islamabad, allies that have had fraught ties over the years.
Pakistan is at war with the Pakistani Taliban, but is widely seen as turning a blind eye to the Afghan Taliban and other extremist groups, viewing them as a way to enhance its regional influence.