June 23 (UPI) — Pakistani Taliban on Saturday named the successor of their leader killed in a drone strike last week.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan named Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud as its new chief and Mufit Mazahim, better known as Mufti Hazrat, as his deputy emir, The Tribune Express reported.
A U.S. drone strike on June 13 hit the former leader, Mullah Fazlullah, and four other Taliban commanders. The extremist group also confirmed on Saturday the death of Fazlulla in that drone strike.
“Like his predecessors Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud, Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike,” TTP’s central spokesperson Umar Khurasani said in a statement to The Tribune Express.
The militant group told Voice of America that slain Fazlullah had become a “headache for slaves of America in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
Fazlullah had led Pakistan’s Taliban since 2013. Before his death, he was believed to have ordered the attempted assassination of the women’s rights activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafazi.
The U.S. State Department had offered a $5 million reward for Fazlullah since March, with officials saying he ordered numerous high-profile attacks against American and Pakistani targets, including a 2014 school massacre that killed more than 100 people, mostly children.