Top Pakistani Taliban commander ambushed and killed in North Waziristan

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Originally published on February 25, 2014

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A major figure in the Pakistani Taliban was killed on Monday (February 24).

Asmatullah Shaheen, who sat on the Pakistani Taliban's executive council, was killed February 24 in a town in North Waziristan, a tribal region in Pakistan considered a Taliban stronghold.

The top Taliban commander was driving through a rural village in North Waziristan, when his vehicle was ambushed and fired on by unknown assailants.

Asmatullah Shaheen and two aides travelling with him were killed. No group has claimed responsibility.

There have been reports of recent infighting among Taliban factions, but the BBC reports that Pakistan's shadowy intelligence services maintains a network in the tribal regions, and their involvement in the assassination cannot be ruled out.

Al-jazeera news reports that Shaheen was the chairman of the Pakistani Taliban supreme council for two years.

He was appointed the group's chief after charismatic leader Hakeemullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2013.

Shaheen was wanted by Pakistan and the U.S. and the Pakistan government had a 10 million rupee (US$95,000) bounty on his head.

The terrorist commander is said to have been the man who ordered a suicide attack on a Shia Muslim procession in Karachi in December 2009, which killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 100.

Shaheen is also alleged to have been the mastermind of a daring December 2011 raid during which his fighters kidnapped more than a dozen Pakistani Frontier Corps security forces, most of whom were later killed.

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