Afghan police say Pakistani Taliban leader killed in clash

A top leader of Pakistan's Taliban may have been killed in a clash with Afghan forces near the border, a senior Afghan police officer said on Thursday.

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    This file photo shows Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Fazlullah, who was reportedly killed along with his six other Taliban commanders in Nuristan province of Afghanistan Wednesday night.
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Maulvi Fazlullah, the head of a Taliban faction in Pakistan's Swat Valley, was reportedly killed along with six of his comrades in the Barg Matal district of Afghanistan's Nuristan province, which lies close to the border with Pakistan, said Mohammad Zaman Mamozai, chief of the Afghan border force for the eastern region.

"Maulvi Fazlullah was killed in direct clash with Afghan border police...last night," he said.

He did not have further details. The Afghan Taliban have confirmed the fighting, but insist no foreign militants were involved.

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The news of Fazlullah's death comes after reports of several days of clashes between Afghan forces and militants in Barg Matal.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, who heads a Pakistani Taliban faction based in the Bajuar tribal region, denied media reports that Fazlullah was leading any assault in Afghanistan.

"He could be in Nuristan because the Taliban have been moving back and fourth along the (Pakistan-Afghan) border," he told Reuters by telephone prior to reports of Fazlullah's death.

"He may be living in Nuristan but he is not engaged in any fighting there," he said.

In a BBC interview in November, Fazlullah said he had escaped to Afghanistan after a Pakistani military offensive against the Taliban in his Swat Valley stronghold in April last year.

(Reporting by Rohullah Anwari in Asadabad, Augustine Anthony in Islamabad and Alamigir Bitani in Peshawar; Writing by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by David Fox and Chris Allbritton)

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