TTP Khalid Said Sajna killed, Maulvi Khatir appointed as new Chief

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: United States Designated Terrorist and the deputy chief commander of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Khan Said Mehsud alias Sajna who was head of the Mehsud faction of the Taliban is reportedly killed in a drone strike in the Margha Area of Barmal close to the Afghan border on Thursday. A sources prior to these developments confirmed that Sajna along with his nephew Ismail and two guards was killed. “The vehicle was completed destroyed, adding that there were at least three reported drone strikes on the Pak-Afghan border in the last 24 hours.

Soon after the killing of Said Mehsud alias Sajna TTP’s command council of Mehsud Halqa called emergency meeting and has appointed Maulvi Khatir as acting chief of their faction. The real name of Khalid Sajna was Khan Syed. He belonged to the Shobi Khel tribe and was aged forty six. He had two wives both of which belonged to the Mehsud tribe.

Khalid Sajna is reported to have actively participated in Afghan war before joining Tehreek e Taliban soon after its formation. He has also been considered as a close aide of Baitullah Mehsud and Wali Rehman. According to Wali Rehman’s will, Khalid Sajna was to become tribal chief for South Waziristan after his death. However, Hakeemullah was not ready to accept Sajna as the new chief. He instead opted for Sharyar Mehsud as the new Ameer after which conflicts emerged between Khalid Sajna and Maulvi Fazaullah. However, tensions between the two diffused in 2016 when Maulvi Fazalullah admitted to deploy Khalid Sajna as Deputy Ameer as well as Ameer of South Waziristan.  Khan Said became TTP’s deputy leader following the death of Wali-ur-Rehman in May 2013. Said had experience fighting in Afghanistan, and was believed to be involved in the attack on a Naval base in Karachi, and was also credited with masterminding a 2012 jailbreak in which the Taliban freed 400 inmates from a prison in Bannu.

While the Mehsud faction had split from the TTP, they announced on February 2, 2017 that the “Mehsud division”, which is also known as the movement of the Taliban in South Waziristan and Sajna or Khalid Mehsud Group, had rejoined the group. A Pakistani official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they had received similar information but awaited further confirmation. He refused to give any further details.

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