Three senior commanders of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) -- also known as the Pakistani Taliban -- have been killed in a blast in southeastern Afghanistan, dealing a heavy blow to the militant group, sources told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal on August 7.
One of the commanders was Abdul Wali, alias Omar Khalid Khorasani, who was considered to have been one of the most influential and ruthless TTP leaders. The other two were identified as Hafiz Dawlat and Mufti Hassan.
The men were traveling in the Birmal district of the Afghan province of Paktika when their car hit a roadside mine on the evening of August 7, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The three commanders were said to be based in Afghanistan's Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. They were traveling to Birmal “for consultations,” the sources said, without providing any further details.
The news comes at a time when Pakistani authorities are in contact with the militant group’s leadership to discuss a peace agreement. A truce has already been in place between the TTP and the Pakistani military for the past two months.
Khorasani belonged to Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal district and was said to be in charge of the Mohmand branch of the Pakistani Taliban.
Hassan was among the nearly a dozen TTP commanders who had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, the slain leader of the Islamic State terrorist group.
Sources say some TTP circles consider Hassan to have been responsible for inciting infighting in the TTP a few years ago.
Dawlat was considered to have been important TTP commanders and a close confidant of Khorasani.