Pak: Taliban commander believed killed in drone strikes

Ibne Amin was linked to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Pakistani Taliban.

Islamabad: A dreaded militant commander linked to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Pakistani Taliban, who had a Rs 1.5 crore bounty on his head, is believed to be among dozens of militants killed in US drone strikes in the restive Khyber Agency last week.

Ibne Amin, a militant leader from the Swat valley, is believed to have been killed in the first US drone attack carried out in the Khyber tribal region on Thursday, TV news channels quoted their sources as saying today.

Amin began his career as a terrorist with the Jaish-e-Mohammed and joined the Tehreek-e-Taliban in 2007.

He was known as an expert bomb maker and had been accused of involvement in the kidnapping and killing of several government officials and security personnel.

He was also close to Maulana Fazlullah, the chief of the Taliban in Swat, and a member of the local `shura` or council of the militants in that region.

Amin had a hand in the recent kidnapping of two Chinese engineers and a government official and was blamed for beheading four Pakistan Army commandos abducted in Swat.

The federal government had offered a bounty of Rs 1.5 crore for Amin in May 2009.

A senior commander of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam told the media that Amin was killed with six of his bodyguards when a drone targeted his vehicle in Spindrand area of Khyber Agency, some four kilometres southeast of the Afghan border.

Amin, who was less than 40 years old, became a feared commander when he started torturing and killing opponents of the Taliban in Swat.

At one time, it was said he was the most powerful man in the Taliban in Swat after Fazlullah.

The media quoted intelligence sources as saying that Amin also had links with al Qaeda.

The Khyber Agency witnessed four US drone attacks last week in which over three dozen militants from the Lashkar-e-Islam and Taliban were killed.

Reports said Amin was in Khyber Agency to bring together various factions of the Lashkar-e-Islam.