A video grab taken from an undated handout video released by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) shows its head Mullah Fazlullah, centre, at an undisclosed location at Pak-Afghan border. Image Credit: EPA

Dubai: The leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Mullah Fazlullah, who masterminded the massacre of 148 people including schoolchildren, was reportedly killed in an air strike in Afghanistan on Saturday, Gulf News has learnt.

Calling it a ‘big blow’ that will break the back of “TTP terrorists”, Pakistan officials said Fazlullah was killed during a joint operation by Pakistan army and US-led forces in Afghanistan. However, no official statement was issued on Saturday.

A highly placed source in Islamabad told Gulf News that the news about Fazlullah’s death would soon be made public and his body would also be shown to public.

The joint operation to hunt down Fazlullah was conducted after Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif rushed to Afghanistan on Tuesday — the day of Peshawar school massacre — demanding that the Afghan government take action against TTP’s most-feared leader hiding there.

The army chief shared intelligence details with the Afghan officials which showed Fazlullah giving directives to terrorists from his hideout in Afghanistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been informed about the joint operation on Saturday, sources said.

Pakistan Army has been waging a major offensive against the Taliban and other militant strongholds in the restive tribal area along the Pakistan-Afghan border for the last six months

President Mamnoon Hussain said on Saturday said Peshawar tragedy has united the nation and people are now seeking the complete elimination of terrorists to make the country safe,

Fazlullah, nicknamed Radio Mullah for interacting with his militant groups through FM radio, had escaped from Swat when the military flushed out terrorists from the valley during a massive military operation in 2009. He had also claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on Malala Yousufzai in 2012.

Since the Peshawar school massacre, Pakistan army has killed more than 60 militants in the northwest near the Afghan border in intensified fighting.