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Senior Taliban commander, 12 other militants killed by US drone strike in Afghanistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - The Pakistani Taliban has confirmed that one of their senior leaders and a dreaded militant commander, Mulla Dadullah, was killed in a U.S. drone attack along with 12 other fighters at Sheegal Darra in the Kunar province of Afghanistan on Friday night.

"Someone planted a chip, which was used for spying purposes, on Mujahideen near his compound that helped the drone trace his whereabouts. Mulla Dadullah and his 12 other bodyguards were killed in the missile attack," said a senior Pakistani Taliban leader, who belongs to Bajaur tribal region and is based in Afghanistan's Kunar province.

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Mulla Dadullah, in his 40s, was the Taliban chief for the troubled Bajaur region, bordering Afghanistan.

Taliban sources said the body of Dadullah and those that died with him were damaged in the missile strike. Dadullah had replaced Maulvi Faqir Mohammad last year when he told media that the Taliban were holding peace talks with the government.

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It prompted the Taliban leadership, who until now were denying peace talks with the Pakistan government and replaced Maulvi Faqir with Dadullah, to punish him for his secret negotiations.

Pakistani Taliban in Bajaur and Swat were forced to flee their native areas and take refuge in Afghanistan after Pakistani security forces launched military operations against them in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

These militants often cross the border and carry out attacks inside Pakistan. Pakistan has repeatedly complained that the Afghan government and Nato had failed to stop these militants from conducting terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

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Dadullah's real name was said be Mohammad Jamal and he belonged to the Mamond area in Bajaur. Before becoming a militant, he had a shop in a market at the commercial town of Inayat Kalley in Bajaur in which he used to sell salt. He joined the Taliban network in 2006 and was reportedly very close to Arab fighters who had taken shelter in Bajaur at that time.

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