Peshawar: school attack mastermind killed in US drone strike

Umar Mansoor died along with four other Islamic militants in a US drone attack in Afghanistan. The Taliban terrorist leader trained the attackers who killed 148 people, including 132 children, in December 2014. He also masterminded two other deadly attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Umar Mansoor, that mastermind behind the military school attack in Peshawar in 2014 that left almost 150 people dead, mostly children, was killed in Afghanistan by a US drone attack, Pakistani military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said on Twitter. A US military source confirmed the report.

The Taliban extremist was killed along with four other militants in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The air strike was carried out on 9 July, but the death was confirmed on 13 July.

The drone strike that killed Mansoor “underscores the common security interests shared by the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan on matters of terrorism”, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.

“Only through continued cooperation will we collectively succeed in eliminating terrorist safe havens in the region,” he added.

Mansoor, also known as Umar Naray and Umar Khalifa, is believed to have planned he December 2014 attack. He is thought to have trained the nine terrorists from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who stormed a military school in Peshawar, killing 148 people, including 132 children between 7 and 14 years.

The Taliban claimed the attack was revenge against the Pakistani army offensive in the north-west region, along the border with Afghanistan, an Islamist stronghold, that killed more than 1,200 militants.

The massacre was strongly condemned by everyone in Pakistan, including the leaders of the Catholic Church of Pakistan in strongly worded statements by the bishop of Islamabad and the archbishop of Karachi, as well as the international community.

According to authorities, Mansoor also masterminded two other attacks in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The first one involved an attack against Bacha Khan university in Charsadda in which terrorists killed 21 people and wounded 30; the second took place at the Pakistani Air Force base in Peshawar, with 29 dead, including eight attackers.