MIRANSHAH: At least five persons including TTP commander Asmatullah Shahin Bitni were killed in the result of firing of unknown persons on their vehicle in Dargah Mandi area on Ghulam Khan-Miranshah road. Asmatullah Shahin was former acting Amir of TTP and Amir of TTP shura. Taliban and family members of Asmatullah have confirmed the death of Asmatullah Shahin.
The incident of firing was occurred on Monday morning at Miranshah- Ghulam khan Road. Asmatullah Shahin was traveling along with three companions on a vehicle with black window panes. The unknown persons riding another vehicle with black window panes opened indiscriminate firing on the vehicle of Bitni. In the result of firing all five persons present in vehicle were killed. Asmatullah Shahin along with his driver, guard and two commanders was killed in the result of the attack. The attackers managed to flee from the area after firing on the vehicle of Asmatullah. He was killed when he along with his companions were going to Miranshah Bazaar from Pak-Afghan border area. All the persons present in vehicle were killed on the spot.
Asmatullh Shahin was in favour of dialogues and was also in favour of observing ceasefire. He was disabled from one leg and was used to travel on double cabin vehicle. Asmatullh was active in FR Jandollah and he had become acting amir of TTP after the death of Hakimullah Mehsood in drone strike. The situation of the area has become tense after the incident; meanwhile no one has claimed the responsibility of the attack. Asmatullh was the resident of Tank and had joined the TTP when it was formed by Baitullah Mehsood in 2008. TTP had excluded him (Asmatullha) from the TTP shura and had included him Qari Shakeel on his place as TTP shura member. Asmatullah was used to collect funding for the TTP.
The Unites States had fixed $5 million bounty for the arrest of Asmatullah Shahin Bitni.
Asmatullah hails from the Khichi sub-tribe of Bhittani in South Waziristan and was known for his ruthless predisposition towards those taken prisoners by the TTP.
The battle hardened commander was one of the top deputies of Baitullah Mehsud and previously fought with the force of Haji Turkestan (a pro-government leader) multiple times. Considered a potential successor to Baitullah, Asmatullah wasn’t allowed to ascend the leadership mantle, as he hailed from a different tribe.
Shaheen gained notoriety after he claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on an Ashura procession in 2009 which killed 44 people in Karachi.
He was also considered as the lead figure of an attack on the Frontier Corps – Mullazai Fort in Tank, South Waziristan. In Dec 2011, his militants with highly sophisticated weaponry overran the military bastion, killed an officer and kidnapped 23 other soldiers. Although seven soldiers managed to escape from the militants’ custody, the rest of the abductees were brutally tortured and murdered. The horrifically mutilated bodies – with 40 bullet holes each and signs of torture – were recovered from North Waziristan subsequently.
Asmatullah Shaheen, also known as Asmatullah Bhittani, was considered to be a leading figure in attack on Mullazai Fort in Tank, South Waziristan and killing security forces in North Waziristan, officials said.
Hoping to remain safe from Drone strikes, Asmatullah is said to have been living in territory where Hafiz Gul Bahadur holds influence.
In 2009 when Pakistan released a list of wanted Taliban members, Asmatullah was also on that list with a price of Rs. 10 million on his head.
Asmatullah had previously survived five attacks on his life. It is also said, that prior to joining the Taliban, Asmatullah had been part of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen fighting a jihad in Kashmir.