ISLAMABAD: Mangal Bagh Afridi, chief of Pakistan’s proscribed terror outfit Lashkar-e-Islam, was killed along with his 13-year-old daughter and two others in an explosion in Achin district in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Thursday.
Nangarhar governor Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhel confirmed the deaths on Twitter. Afghan officials said Bagh, in his mid-50s, had gone to his son’s house in Achin’s Bandar Darra. When he was leaving the place around noon, a bomb placed at the doorstep exploded, killing Bagh, his daughter and two security guards. No terror group or individual had yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Bagh’s organisation, operating in (erstwhile) Khyber Agency (Pakistan), had unleashed a deadly reign of terror along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. He had once in the past become an ally of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the country’s biggest terrorist group, before joining hands with the ISIS, or Daesh.
According to the US State Department’s Reward for Peace, he 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 stated. “His group earns revenue from drug trafficking, smuggling, kidnapping, raids on NATO convoys, and taxes on transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” it added.
Born in the erstwhile Khyber Agency, Bagh was a member of the Afridi tribe. He studied at a madrassah for several years and later fought alongside militant groups in Afghanistan. According to locals, Bagh used to wash cars at a taxi stand in Peshawar’s cantonment area during his youth. He then became the conductor of a bus operating between Bara tehsil and Peshawar before turning its driver.