PESHAWAR: The spokesman of the Afghanistan based Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has confirmed the death of ex-spokesman Azam Tariq along with six other militants in a late night raid by the Afghan security forces backed by the coalition forces in Paktika province of Afghanistan. Raeas Khan, also known as Azam Khan Tariq, had a 20 million rupee ($190,740) bounty on his head and was the fourth-highest ranking commander in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “I confirm the killing of Azam Tariq along with at least 10 other Pakistani Taliban in Paktika province,” a senior commander loyal to Tariq said, requesting anonymity. The incident took place in Laman area of Bermal district near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border between South Waziristan Agency and Paktika province of Afghanistan. According to local sources, the Afghanistan National Army, backed by the coalition forces, were engaged in a fierce gun battle with at least seven militants affiliated to the Tehirk-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The Afghan forces were able to take down Azam Tariq, his son Shafiullah and five other militants including three persons belonging to the Madakhel tribe of South Waziristan Agency and two Mehsud fighters. It was learnt that his young son Shafiullah used to accompany him and would often act as spokesman for the Mehsud Taliban. Another person killed in the attack was recognized as Khairullah, who is said to be a personal bodyguard of Azam Tariq. Azam Tariq had also served on the same position in the early days of the Hakimullah Mehsud era before he was replaced by Ihsanullah Ihsan. He was a member of the central shura of the TTP and also a member of the TTP negotiation team that was involved in peace talks with a peace committee designated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2014. Azam Tariq had met the government’s negotiating peace committee comprising of Irfan Siddiqui, Maj. (retd) Muhammad Aamir, Rahimullah Yusufzai and Rustam Shah Mohmand at Orakzai Agency. Before joining the Taliban, Azam Tariq taught as a primary school teacher in South Waziristan. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have accused each other of allowing militants to shelter in the border regions and launch bloody attacks that threaten regional stability.