PESHAWAR: Not much is known about Zela Khan Afridi outside his close circles, but the Lashkar-e-Islami’s Shoora chose him as the new head of the militant group to succeed Mangal Bagh who a few days ago was killed in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.
Even otherwise, Zela Khan Afridi aka Abu Abid will have a tough job to replace someone like Mangal Bagh, who had an authoritarian streak and had led Lashkar-e-Islam unchallenged all these years.
Besides, the already depleted militant group after suffering its biggest loss to-date due to Mangal Bagh’s death will now have a hard time to stay united and continue its military activities.
Its fighters had almost all escaped to Afghanistan due to the military action against them in Khyber district. However, Mangal Bagh’s legacy will be carried by his son, Tayyab aka Ajnabi, who was named as deputy head of the group. He too has been living in Afghanistan for the last many years and it was on the doorsteps of his house in Bandar Darra in Achin district of Nangarhar province that the bomb explosion killed Mangal Bagh along with his two security guards and a 13-year old daughter.
Sources said the Lashkar-e-Islam shura held an emergency meeting in Bandar Darra after Mangal Bagh’s assassination and decided to appoint Zela Khan Afridi as the new head of the group and Tayyab aka Ajnabi as deputy leader.