Omar Khalid Khorasani
Place of Birth: Qandaro, Pakistan;
Omar Khalid Khorasani (also known as Abdul Wali Raghib), is a militant Islamist who had served as the leader of the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar after splitting ways with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.
He had been considered one of TTP’s most effective and powerful leaders in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He was ousted by Maulana Fazlullah for forming “dubious” organizations such as Junad-i-Hafza, Ahrar-ul-Hind and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.
It was reported in October 2017 that he had died in a drone strike carried out by United States in Paktia Province of Afghanistan. However, reports later emerged disputing his death. Reports of Khorasani’s death were proven false when the United States added Khorasani to the U.S State Department’s Rewards for Justice wanted list on March 7, 2018.
Omar Khalid was born in Qandaro, a village in Mohmand Agency. He was a journalist and a poet. Most of his poetry was religious or devotional as he mostly composed naats (poetry in praise of prophet Muhammad). He adopted the nom de guerre of Omar Khalid Khorasani in 2007. Khorasani studied at a local school and then at a madrassah in Karachi.
Omar was radicalised at an early age and joined Harkat ul-Ansar, one of the militant groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. When the U.S invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Khorasani set up an office of Harkat in Mohmand Agency, where he recruited fighters for ‘jihad’ against the American forces.
Omar gained prominence, after vowing to avenge the Lal Masjid operation, and seized the shrine of a famous anti-colonialist fighter in the village of Ghazi Abad during the summer of 2007 and renaming it Lal Masjid (Red Mosque).
In December 2007 when TTP was formed, Omar was named ameer of the groups franchise in Mohmand agency. Within the organisation he was given charge of Khyber agency where he orchestrated a campaign against government-backed lashkars (militias).
It was reported that a JuA spokesman Asad Mansoor had told AFP news agency that Khorasani on 18 October 2017 had succumbed to his injuries received in a United States drone strike in Paktia Province of Afghanistan. Pajhwok Afghan News however stated that a source close to the group had denied his death.
Long War Journal reported that a statement on Telegram issued under Khorasani’s name denied his death, while confirming the death of Khalifa Umar Mansour. The outlet noted that the spokesman operating the group’s Telegram account did not announce his death. His death also was not confirmed by the United States.
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