Pakistan’s most dangerous militant group claimed that it shot down a Pakistani military F-16 with a surface-to-air missile Friday taking a number of pictures of the aircraft wreckage, most of which is marked in English and believed to have been sold by the United States to the Pakistani military, TheBlaze has learned.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban, known by its acronym TTP, also confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban commander Hasan Janaza, who they say was killed in a clash with Pakistani security forces in the lawless Federally Administered Tribal Agency (FATA) that borders Afghanistan.
TheBlaze obtained dozens of photos from a Pakistani source of the funeral and of the wreckage of the jet, which appeared to still have unexploded bombs and munitions.
As the United States prepares to drawdown by the end of the year, violence continues to escalate and an election crisis, which has left Hamid Karzai acting as interim president, is still unresolved. This past week the Taliban has ramped up their attacks, claiming responsibility for a suicide bomb that left two American soldiers and another NATO soldier dead.
“It’s difficult to access what really happened with the jet,” said a U.S. official familiar with the region. “What we do know is that the Taliban is planning on continuing its attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan as we prepare to bring our troops home and this is going to be a very dangerous time. There is certainly reason for concern when the Taliban claims they have manpads. We’re just as concerned about groups in Syria and Iraq claiming to have these surface to air missiles because they are a threat to civilian aircraft, as we saw in Ukraine.”
The Taliban also claimed last month in a statement obtained by TheBlaze that it considers “ISIS [Islamic State] and every other mujahid group as our brothers.” The U.S. and France have been targeting IS militants with airstrikes over the past month. The terrorist organization has seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in their attempt to rebuild a caliphate. They are responsible for gruesome acts of terror and have claimed responsibility for the beheading of two U.S. journalists and a U.N aid worker. They are also threatening to strike at the U.S. homeland.
The Pakistani military has been conducting major campaigns against the Taliban in an area of the FATA, known as North Waziristan, according to the Pakistan Defense Agency.
Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in statement Saturday that Hasan Afghani Janaza, a commander of the outlawed group, was killed in a clash with security forces in the region’s Boya area two days ago, according to reports from the region. According to a statement from the TTP, which was obtained by TheBlaze, Hasan was from the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. He was recently released and went back to join the militant fighters in Pakistan, according to the statement.
A top Taliban commander and religious leader, who is wanted by the United States as well, was at Hasan’s funeral, among a number of other militant fighters.
You can Follow Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) on Twitter.