A Pakistani bomb maker who trained Taliban terrorists before switching to al-Qaeda was killed in western Afghanistan, the country’s intelligence agency said on Tuesday.
The agency said Mohammad Hanif, originally from Karachi, had “close ties” with the Taliban and had trained terrorists in the manufacture of car bombs and improvised explosive devices.
It was said that he was originally a member of the Taliban, but joined al-Qaeda in 2010.
Two Pakistani women were also arrested in the operation that led to Hanif’s murder, the NDS said without providing further details.
The Taliban have not commented.
Hanif’s murder comes just days after security forces killed Abu Muhsin al-Masri, one of the top al-Qaeda terrorists long wanted by the United States.
The Taliban’s protection against al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden was the main reason for the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Some 19 years later, in a landmark agreement with Washington in February, the Taliban agreed not to allow foreign extremists – including al-Qaeda – to use Afghan land if the US withdraws all troops.
Separately, the Taliban and the Afghan government are currently holding peace talks, which began in September but have made no significant progress.