When Peace is a Casualty

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A bomb blast killed a top leader of the Pakistani Taliban in southeastern Afghanistan this week, an incident that paused the peace talks between the extremist group and Pakistani officials aimed at ending years of violence between the two sides, the Washington Post reported.

Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) confirmed that Omar Khalid Khurasani and two other members of the group were killed by a roadside bomb over the weekend.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast and reports on the incident contradicted one another on the specifics. Still, the TTP blamed Pakistani intelligence agents for the killing while providing no evidence for the claim, Al Jazeera noted.

The late TTP commander – whose real name is Abdul Wali – was responsible for some of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan and was the on US State Department’s most-wanted list, with a reward of up to $3 million for information on his whereabouts.

The bomb blast follows the killing of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri by a US drone last week. Khurasani was believed to have been close with al-Zawahri and Osama bin Laden but there is no evidence of a connection between these two incidents.

Khurasani’s death comes as the TTP and Pakistani authorities have been negotiating a peace deal for months to end the years-long conflict between the militant group and the government.

The negotiations began shortly after the Taliban took back control of neighboring Afghanistan last year following the withdrawal of foreign troops.

The Afghan Taliban have been assisting in the talks, even as the armed group is struggling to protect Afghanistan’s Shiite Muslim communities following a series of terrorist attacks the last week.

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