News / Asia

Key Pakistan Taliban Commander Shot Dead

FILE - Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan.
FILE - Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan.
Sharon Behn
A key Pakistan Taliban commander was fatally shot Monday, and a top government official is saying Pakistan has reached a turning point in its dealings with the militants.
 
Unidentified gunmen on Monday opened fire on a car carrying Taliban commander Asmatullah Shaheen, killing him and several militants traveling with him.

According to Shaheen’s relatives, the ambush took place in the militant stronghold of North Waziristan. It was unclear who was behind the attack, but local officials blamed rival Taliban factions.

Interior Minister Choudhry Nisar Ali Kahn said the killing comes at a critical point in the government’s peace efforts with the militants. "God willing we will make this country a peaceful country, whatever it takes. But this is a defining moment -- and for this the whole nation should unite," he said.

Government efforts to negotiate a political end to the seven-year Taliban insurgency have stalled in the face of repeated militant attacks and military retaliation.

Analysts say that Shaheen’s killing is part of an intense fight for power within one of the tribes that form the leadership of the Tehreek-e-Taliban. The TTP is a loose network of Islamist militants who operate around the country.

The analysts also say constant insecurity in the country, ranging from deadly attacks in the southern city of Karachi -- which government officials admit is now 25% under Taliban influence -- to bombings in the north, is beginning to erode political support for the talks.

Mahmood Shah, a retired military brigadier familiar with the tribal regions, said support for a military solution is building. “Four-hundred and sixty people have been killed since the negotiations started, so over that, I think, generally these people are in, sort of, in favor of a military solution or operation.”

The military already has conducted retaliatory strikes against the Taliban after the militants attacked and killed a number of security force personnel.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made a political settlement with Taliban militants a centerpiece of his election campaign.

Analyst Hassan Askari Rizvi said a number of political leaders have only supported the Taliban, however, out of a belief the militants cannot be touched by the government. “But when this cycle moves in the other direction and they feel that there is a credible action against Taliban, you will find that some of the groups that are supporting Taliban openly will be somewhat quiet.”

Shaheen was the Taliban's interim leader after a drone strike killed Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud in 2013. Shaheen later was replaced by the militants' current chief, Mullah Fazlullah.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
February 24, 2014 1:27 PM
Killing the leader of Taliban is not the news which people are looking for. . he is a criminal .he committed so many crimes and he thought that God in his side and he will not killed . he killed and hope that all follower will have the same fate . justice has to be served
In Response

by: ahmad from: canada
February 24, 2014 7:03 PM
pakistan has to suffer losses as much as afghans have sufferd then pakistan break into 5 states and at that point panjab will see peace may be if india let them have peace ! this is just the begining at started like this in afghanistan too and untill today no peace! when ppl dont get along they should separate!!!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs