KABUL, Afghanistan — A NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban who had close ties with al-Qaida, dealing a blow to the militants who operate on both sides of the countries' porous border.
Mullah Dadullah was killed Friday in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province, which lies just across the border from the Pakistani tribal area of Bajur, the military alliance said. He was the Pakistani Taliban leader in Bajur, and NATO said Saturday that Dadullah also was responsible for the movement of fighters and weapons across the frontier as well as attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Eleven other militants were also killed in the airstrike in Kunar's Shigal district, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Pakistani border, including Dadullah's deputy, identified only as Shakir, the coalition said.
Dadullah's death will be a blow for the Taliban in Bajur, where the Pakistani military launched an offensive against militants in 2010, because he was an experienced commander and close to al-Qaida, said Mansur Mahsud, an Islamabad-based expert on Pakistani militants. But he said it's unlikely to have much of an impact on the broader Pakistani Taliban movement that operates in the rest the country's rugged, lawless tribal region along the Afghan border.