US offers $5 million in award money for Taliban leader
Story Code : 710239
The US State Department posted the reward on Thursday for information leading to Maulana Fazlullah, the head of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militant group (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban.
It also offered $3 million each for two other militants associated with the TTP: Abdul Wali, leader of Jamaat ul-Ahrar, and Mangal Bagh, the leader of Lashkar-e-Islam.
The State Department said the TTP has "demonstrated a close alliance with al-Qaeda" and the three pose a threat to the security of the United States.
“Each of these individuals is believed to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of the United States and its nationals,” the department said in its statement.
“In addition to opposing the Pakistani military, one of TTP’s stated goals is the expulsion of Coalition troops from Afghanistan. The group has demonstrated a close alliance with al-Qaeda, and, since 2008, has also repeatedly publicly threatened to attack the U.S. homeland.”
Although Pakistani Taliban militants still unleash attacks, the group has lost control of all territory in Pakistan since its December 2014 attack on an army school that killed 132 children.
According to US officials, TTP gave explosives training to Faisal Shahzad, who failed in his attempt to set off a car bomb in New York’s Times Square in May 2010.
The group was behind the massacre of more than 150 people at a Peshawar school in December 2014, and nine dead in another attack in December 2017 in the same city.
It was also responsible for the October 2012 shooting of a renowned schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, solely because she went to school. Later Yousafzai, who nearly escaped death, became a global symbol of the fight for girls' rights to schooling.
Tensions have grown in relations between the United States and Pakistan following US President Donald Trump’s accusations that Pakistan was harboring "terrorists."
Pakistan has vehemently denied the charge and says it has carried out several military operations in the country's tribal regions and elsewhere to kill or arrest militants.