June 15 (UPI) — The leader of Pakistan’s Taliban, who’s believed to have ordered the attempted assassination of activist Malala Yousafazi, was killed in a U.S. drone strike this week, authorities said Friday.
Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry, said Mullah Fazullah died in the strike Wednesday, after having led the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan group since 2013.
Officials said the strike was launched in the mountainous Marawara district, which connects Afghanistan to Pakistan. Four other Pakistani Taliban commanders were also killed in the attack.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell said American forces conducted a counter-terrorism strike close to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that targeted a “senior leader of a designated terrorist organization.”
O’Donnell did not name Fazullah.
U.S. officials say Fazullah ordered numerous high-profile attacks against American and Pakistani targets, including a 2014 school massacre that killed 141 people, mostly children.
Fazullah was also accused of ordering the attempted assassination of Nobel Prize winner and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for the right of girls to have access to an education.
The U.S. State Department began offering a $5 million reward for Fazullah in March.
Wednesday’s drone attack occurred during a cease-fire between the Afghan Taliban and government security forces marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
“The cease-fire does not include U.S. counter-terrorism efforts against [the Islamic State], Al-Qaida, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of U.S. and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, said.