Mangal Bagh was killed in a roadside bomb in Achin district of Nangarhar province, according to local media reports
Chief of a banned militant group blamed for a deadly reign of terror in a border region of Pakistan has been killed in a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan, the provincial governor confirmed on Thursday.
“Mangal Bagh, the leader of Lashkar-e-Islam terrorist group, was killed along with two of his comrades in a roadside bomb blast in the Bandar Dara area of Achin district of Nangarhar this morning,” provincial governor Ziaulhaq Amarkhil wrote on his verified Twitter handle.
Bagh was involved in a number of terrorist activities in the area, added Ziaulhaq, who is also senior advisor to President Ashraf Ghani on political and public affairs. Bagh’s LeI group has been affiliated with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which is responsible for most terrorist violence in Pakistan.
Mangal Bagh, a truck cleaner-turned-warlord, held sway over Bara tehsil of the erstwhile Khyber Agency until June 2008 when his armed vigilantes were routed in a security operation. Since then he has been on the run, mostly operating from southern Afghanistan where his loyalists have found safe havens.
The confirmation from Ziaulhaq came shortly after Pakistan’s private Pashto-language Khyber News broke the story. “Mangal Bagh was killed in a roadside bomb blast in front of his house in Achin district, Nangarhar province, around noon,” it said on the authority of “a reliable security source”.
Pajhwok News, Afghanistan’s largest independent news agency, also quoted “a well-placed security source” as confirming that Bagh was killed around 12:00pm when a bomb planted closed to the main gate of his house went off.
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In the past, Bagh was reported dead several times, but every time he would metaphorically resurrect to deny the reports of his death. Of late, he was seriously wounded in an airstrike by Afghan forces.
According to US State Department’s Reward for Peace, Mangal Bagh carried up to $3 million bounty on his head.
“Bagh has led Lashkar-e-Islam since 2006 and has routinely shifted alliances to protect illicit revenue streams while enforcing an extreme version of Deobandi Islam in the areas of eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan that he controls, particularly Nangarhar province, Afghanistan,” it says.
“His group earns revenue from drug trafficking, smuggling, kidnapping, raids on NATO convoys, and taxes on transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” it adds.
Born in the erstwhile Khyber Agency, Bagh is a member of the Afridi tribe. He studied at a madrassah for several years and later fought alongside militant groups in Afghanistan.