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Senior Pakistani Taliban Commander Reportedly Killed


Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani reportedly killed in North Waziristan on February 24.
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan -- RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal quotes local and intelligence sources in North Waziristan as saying that the former acting chief of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed.

The sources say that senior commander Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani was killed on February 24 in a shootout with unknown attackers in the Darga Mandai area near Miranshah, the administrative headquarters of the troubled North Waziristan tribal district.

Bhittani's driver and two of his bodyguards were also reportedly killed. Bhittani was appointed caretaker chief of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike last year.

Radio Mashaal reports that Bhittani had been playing a key role in ongoing efforts to establish peace talks with the government in Islamabad. There has been no confirmation of his death from the TTP.

With reporting by the AFP
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