Senior Pakistani Taliban leader killed in Afghanistan: Official | Pakistani Taliban News

Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Khalid Bharti was killed in Nangarhar province.

Karachi, Pakistan – A senior leader of the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, has been killed in eastern Afghanistan as peace talks between the militant group and the government remain stalled, Pakistani security officials said.

Khalid Balti, also known as Muhammad Khorasani when he was the group’s spokesman, was killed in Nangarhar province, a security source told Al Jazeera on Tuesday. .

The official declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media on the issue.

“It is clear that the person who was killed was Khaled Bharti,” the official said, while also confirming that the killing took place in Nangarhar province, which borders Afghanistan with Pakistan.

When asked about the killings, he said, “We are working to get that information.”

Pakistani local media reported that Balti was killed by unidentified gunmen, but sources could not confirm those reports.

In a statement, Pakistani Taliban, said reports of Balti’s killing were “under investigation.”

“It should be remembered that Mufti Khalid Bharti is currently in [the Pakistan Taliban],” the statement said.

Balti’s alias Muhammad Khorasani became the nickname for successive Pakistani Taliban spokesman, the group clarified that the current spokesman is “well alive”.

Balti, who is said to be in his 40s, is from the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan and took over as Pakistan Taliban spokesman in 2014 from Sheikh Makpur, who goes by the pseudonym Shahidullah Shahid.

That year, the Pakistani military launched a security operation against the Pakistani Taliban at its former headquarters and stronghold in North Waziristan, moving the group and many of its fighters to eastern Afghanistan.

Pakistani security sources have described Balti as a “key leader” of the Pakistani Taliban, contradicting the militant group’s claims.

It is unclear what role Bharti played in the Pakistani Taliban’s recent operations, released by the Afghan government when the Afghan Taliban took control of Kabul in August.

last month, a month-long ceasefire between the Pakistani military and the Pakistani Taliban It’s over without an update, as the nascent peace process brokered by the Afghan Taliban appears to have stalled.

The Pakistani Taliban claim that the Pakistani government has broken its promise to release Pakistani Taliban prisoners and stop security raids on TTP hideouts.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweeted @AsadHashim.

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