The man accused of masterminding the Pakistani blood bath in which 132 children were murdered has been killed, according to Army sources.
Senior Taliban commander Saddam Jan was shot on Christmas Day in a notorious tribal region between Pakistan and Afghanistan called the Kyber agency, the Telegraph reports.
The attack on the school in Peshawar shocked the world, as Taliban gunmen stormed into the building where students were sitting their exams and teachers tried to shield the children from the hail of bullets.
Shahab Ali Shah, a local government official, said Jan “was responsible for facilitating the massacre at the Army Public School and College”.
“He was the mastermind of several attacks carried out throughout the country. We had credible reports that he facilitated the Peshawar school attack,” he said.
“He was killed by security forces in Jamrud Tehsil late on Thursday night,” adding that another six militants were arrested during the raid.
Jan was a significant player in the Tehrik-e-Taliban alliance which regularly mounted attacks on government posts and military positions and personnel. He was considered to be one of the few commanders still keen to carry out terror attacks.
Jan was killed in the area of Jamrud, on the famous Khyber Pass which until 2007 was a relatively safe route for both the ISAF forces supply lines in Afghanistan and for civilians to escape the war torn country.
However, since then the Taliban began to control the region and at the end of 2008, supply convoys were regular targets for militant groups.
The district of Jamrud, on the Khyber road, was the subject of a military offensive in 2009 when Pakistan sealed off the bridge. The operation was mainly focussed on Jamrad where homes suspected of belonging to Taliban militants were bulldozed.
Despite reports that the seven gunmen who stormed the school on 16th December were not supposed to fire on children, the deliberate targeting of the students was greeted with international horror and even Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders denounced it as “un-Islamic”.
The death of the 148 victims brought a retraction on Pakistan’s moratorium on capital punishment and has since executed six convicted terrorists, in the hope to send out a strong message to groups thinking of carrying out further atrocities.
According to Pakistan officials the planning of the operation was believed to have been ordered by Umar Mansoor on behalf of Maulana Fazlullah, leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban alliance
But the actual planning of the operation was carried out by Saddam Jan, leader of a terror sub group.
But according to Pakistani officials the planning of the operation was carried out by Saddam Jan, the leader of the umbrella group’s Tariq Gedar faction.
He was also said to be the mastermind behind the 2013 attack on a team of polio immunization workers in which 11 security personnel were killed and an attack which killed eight government paramilitary Scouts and several tribal elders.
Former senior commander Brigadier (retired) Mahmood Shah said Saddam “was a significant man because he had been fighting the security forces at a time when most Taliban have gone into hibernation.”
“Taliban are on the run and losing important commanders is a sign that they are getting weaker and weaker”, he added.
Security analyst Talet Khan said the revulsion over the slaughter of so many children had stopped Taliban fighters from finding sanctuary amongst sympathetic locals.
“The TTP’s attack on the Army Public School has enraged and saddened the people due to which they do not want to provide sanctuaries to the TTP’s men”, he said.