Qari Ajmal funeral (Image via Adnan Bitani, Twitter)
Qari Ajmal, a leader with the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangi (LeJ) militant group and alleged mastermind of the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore was killed on Saturday night in a joint Afghan-U.S. special forces operation in Augon, Paktika, Afghanistan. Sources close to the militants informed the Express Tribune a media outlet in Pakistan of his demise.
Adnan Bitani, Researcher, Journalist and Social Scientist based in Islamabad and from Waziristan also tweeted the news to fellow journalists stating,
#QariAjmal, #Srilanka CKT team attack mstrmnd killed in #Wargen_paktika_Afghan on Saturday nighth 4am in #US&Afghan spcl forces #Operation
The attack on the cricket team left six police officers dead along with a driver and seven players were also wounded. At the time the BBC stated,
“Reports suggest 10 to 12 gunmen ambushed the team coach and its accompanying police detail on the Liberty Square roundabout in the heart of Lahore, as the convoy was on the way to the Gaddafi stadium for a Test match.
The BBC’s Barbara Plett, in Islamabad, says accounts suggest the attack was sophisticated in nature, with one group of gunmen firing a rocket-propelled grenade in order to create a diversion, while others then approached, firing guns on the convoy.”
Full story can be read on following link,
“Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka cricketers”
Ajmal, linked to several other operations fled to Waziristan following the attack and was said to be associated with the late Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud killed in a US drone strike in 2013. Mukamil Khan, FATA based journalist at Dawn TV posted a video showing mourners attending Ajmal’s funeral over the border. Many militants relocated to Afghanistan during military operations in Pakistan. Naseer Waeer, a senior Taliban commander with TTP was also allegedly arrested during the operation in Paktika.
The Daily Mail reported,
“Paktika police chief Gen. Khalil Ziayee confirmed the operation, saying one militant was killed and three arrested. He gave no further details.”
“Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, the U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, also confirmed the operation but did not say which militants were targeted. ‘Afghan and U.S. forces did conduct a counter-terrorism operation in Paktika,’ he said, but added that for security reasons ‘we do not discuss the details of counter-terror operations.'”
Back in August, the Express Tribune also highlighted, the killing of three other militants linked to Sri Lankan cricket team attack in a gunfight during a counter-terrorism operation.
See following story,
“Sri Lankan cricket team attackers killed: police”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.