Top Taliban commander Nisar Ahmed, a close aide of slain militant chief Baitullah Mehsud, and who was carrying a bounty of Rs one crore on his head was killed on Wednesday in a gun battle with security forces in Swat.
Ahmed alias Ghazi Baba was also a close associate of fugitive Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah and was known as an expert in making bombs, army officials said.
He was one of 15 top militant commanders for whom authorities had offered rewards in May. His killings come as the army was on the brink of launching its biggest campaign by storming Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan.
Army officials told reporters that Ahmed opened fire at soldiers who surrounded his home in the Matta area of Swat at 7.45 a.M. He was killed in retaliatory firing, they said. The army conducted the raid on Ahmed's home after receiving a tip-off from an informant.
Ahmed was a member of the Taliban 'shura' or decision- making council in Swat. The area in which he was killed - Matta, located 25 km northwest of Mingora, the main city in Swat district - was one of the main Taliban strongholds till the army launched operations against the militants in May.
Army officials described Ahmed's death as a "major success" and a "hard blow" to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Security forces also apprehended 10 militants during a separate operation in Charbagh area of Swat.