Radical Pakistani cleric Sufi Muhammad dies after protracted illness
DIR -- Sufi Muhammad, a radical Pakistani cleric and militant leader who fought against coalition forces in Afghanistan and against the Pakistani government, has died, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Thursday (July 11).
Muhammad, believed to be in his 90s, died in Lower Dir District early July 11, said family members. He had a long history of kidney problems and of diabetes.
Muhammad led the banned Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) and was the father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Fazlullah was killed in Afghanistan in June 2018.
Muhammad fought Soviet forces in the 1980s alongside the Afghan mujahideen. In the 1990s, he launched a revolt against the Pakistani government in Malakand Division.
He returned to Afghanistan after the Taliban's overthrow in 2001, where he commanded a group of insurgents battling foreign and Afghan forces.
Pakistan authorities arrested Muhammad in 2009 on his return.
He was tried on charges of murder, treason, terrorism and rebellion, but authorities freed him in January 2018 on health grounds.