Mastermind of Sri Lanka cricket team attack killed in Afghanistan

AFP, Peshawar: Afghan security forces have killed a senior member of the Pakistani Taliban accused of

masterminding a deadly attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, militant sources said Monday.
Qari Ajmal, a leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi sectarian group that allied with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, died in a raid carried out by Afghan and Nato forces in Afghanistan’s Paktika province that began late Friday and continued into Saturday, a Taliban commander told AFP.
“Qari Ajmal along with other fellow Taliban fighters have been killed in a clash with Afghan and Nato troops,” a second commander added.
Ajmal had been sought in Pakistan for planning a March 2009 gun and grenade attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore, killing six policemen and two civilians and injuring seven cricketers.
The attack resulted in the suspension of all international cricket in Pakistan and forced the national team to play its home matches at neutral venues such as the United Arab Emirates.
Both Taliban sources said Ajmal was also involved in attacks against Pakistani troops and police.
Khalilullah Ziaee, provincial police chief of Paktika, confirmed that “three terrorists had been captured and one killed” in an operation by Afghan commandos.
“These terrorists were Pakistani nationals,” Ziaee said, adding it was not possible to identify them by name at this stage.
A Nato spokesperson also confirmed that Afghan and US forces conducted a counter terrorism operation in Paktika on Saturday.
Ajmal was the second senior Pakistani Taliban leader to be killed in recent weeks in Afghanistan.
Taliban commander Raeas Khan, who was also known as Azam Khan Tariq, was killed along with at least 10 other militants in Paktika in late September.