Ghani ordered airstrike that killed Khalifa Omar: Zakhilwal

ZAKHILWALKABUL: President Ashraf Ghani ordered the airstrike that killed the mastermind of several deadly attacks in Pakistan including the Peshawar school and the Bacha Khan University massacres, the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad said on Thursday.

Dr. Omar Zakhilwal wrote on his Facebook page that President Ghani ordered the July 9 airstrike on Khalia Omar Mansour, aka Khalid Khorasani, after Afghan forces detected his location.

The ambassador said the Afghan forces shared their information about the Taliban’s Tariq Gidar group leader with American forces in Afghanistan, who launched the drone strike on Khalia Omar.

He said Omar Mansour was killed along with seven fighters in the strike. “The killing of Khalifa Mansour proves that Afghanistan is not using terrorists for its interests but targets them without any differentiation.”

Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed the mastermind of the Dec. 2014 Peshawar Army Public School attack and the attack on the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been killed in a drone strike in Nangarhar province.

“On July 9 Omar Khalifa, a known terrorist leader with the Tariq Gidar Group, was killed along with four other enemy combatants in a US Forces-Afghanistan airstrike in Nangarhar province,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter cook said.

Khalifa orchestrated multiple terrorist operations in Pakistan to include the January 2016 attack on Bacha Khan University, the September 2015 Badaber Air Force Base assault and the December 2014 Peshawar school carnage, he added.

“While this strike was taken pursuant to US rules of engagement, the specific relevance it has to Pakistan and Afghanistan’s security underscores the common security interests shared by the US, Afghanistan, and Pakistan,” Cook said, adding the airstrike was carried out against Daesh militants.

The same day, the spokesman for Nangarhar governor, Attaullah Khogyani, had told Pajhwok Afghan News that three commanders were among several Daesh militants killed in US drone strikes in the Achin district.

The attack on the Peshawar school left nearly 300 students dead and wounded and several people were killed and wounded in the attack on the Bacha Khan University.

In a statement, the Pakistan Army said US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson phoned Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif and informed him about the killing of Omar Khalifa. -Pajhwok

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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