PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A fugitive militant leader from Pakistan who carried a $3 million U.S. bounty for alleged terrorist activities was killed by a roadside bomb in neighboring Afghanistan along with two associates, an Afghan official said Friday.
The commander, Manghal Bagh, led an outlawed militant group called Lashkar-e-Islam, or Army of Islam. The group had frequently targeted Pakistani troops in the country’s northwest bordering Afghanistan until the mid-2010s, when Pakistan cleared the region of militants.
Bagh had been on the run until his death Thursday in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, which was announced by provincial governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil in a brief statement on Twitter. Amarkhil did not say who was responsible for the roadside bomb that killed Bagh and his two companions, but said the militant leader had been involved in attacks in Afghanistan.
Washington announced the bounty for Bagh in 2018 over his alleged terrorist activities.
Bagh and his group had a strong presence in northwest Pakistan’s Tirah Valley until military operations cleared the mountainous region of militants, including the Pakistani Taliban, remnants of al-Qaida and other groups. Since then, it was believed that Bagh was hiding in neighboring Afghanistan.
Northwest Pakistan still sees sporadic attacks, mainly targeting security forces. Earlier this month, Pakistan’s military said it had nearly completed a fence along the border with Afghanistan, which it says is necessary to prevent militant attacks from both sides of the 2,611-kilometer (1,622-mile) border, known as the Durand Line.
Afghanistan has never recognized the border, which runs through the Pashtun heartland, diluting the power of Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group on both sides.
Associated Press writer Tameem Akhgar contributed from Kabul, Afghanistan.