News / Asia

    Taliban Killings in Pakistani City May Be Part of Pattern

    Quetta, Pakistan mapQuetta, Pakistan map
    x
    Quetta, Pakistan map
    Quetta, Pakistan map
    Reuters
    At least two Afghan Taliban commanders have been killed in recent weeks in the Pakistani city of Quetta, militants and police told Reuters, the latest in what officials across the border in Afghanistan have described as a series of assassinations within the Islamic insurgent group.
     
    The motive for the killings and the number of those killed is unclear, but the deaths could make peace between Afghanistan's government and the rebels more elusive as Western troops prepare to leave the war-torn nation. Afghan officials say several of the victims had been discussing unauthorized peace talks with the government in Kabul.
     
    Officially, the Taliban has denied any such spate of deaths.
     
    “Now the enemy is facing defeat they have turned to baseless propaganda and they call anyone who gets killed a member of the Taliban council or Mullah Mohammad Omar's close confidante,” a Taliban statement said on Friday, referring to the movement's reclusive one-eyed leader.
     
    However, four members of the Afghan Taliban told Reuters last week that the insurgency had killed some of its own commanders because the men were involved in unauthorized talks.
     
    One Quetta-based commander put the figure at 18 such deaths since the beginning of last year.
     
    Quetta is about 80 km from the Afghanistan border and is known as a place of refuge for the Afghan Taliban in the winter months. Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of supporting the insurgents and giving them sanctuary, a charge which Islamabad has denied.
     
    Both the Taliban and Quetta police say that gunmen shot Noorullah Hottak two weeks ago. Hottak was a member of the Afghan Taliban's 12-man governing body, named the Quetta shura, said Afghan intelligence officials and a Taliban commander.
     
    But the official Taliban statement acknowledging his death denied that, calling him a “former” warrior.
     
    Last month, gunmen killed Mullah Abdul Malek, another Taliban figure, said a Quetta-based Taliban commander and an Afghan intelligence official.
     
    The Taliban denied his death, and the deaths of two other commanders, in their statement.
     
    “These commanders are alive and busy with their jihad tasks,” said the statement.
     
    Around a dozen Taliban members of varying ranks were killed in Quetta in last year's winter, said Rahmatullah Nabil, the head of Afghanistan's intelligence service.
     
    Nabil said he had investigated the killings and the victims had all sought unauthorized peace talks.
     
    “All 12 had been speaking to the president's negotiators, either directly or through provincial governors or tribal elders,” he said.
     
    Since the killings started up again last month, a senior Afghan official blamed the killings on Pakistani officials, saying they feared losing influence over commanders who started peace talks.
     
    “Pakistan thinks if we're making progress with these (Taliban leaders), that might break their hold on them,” said the official, who asked not to be named.
     
    Pakistani officials say they have no idea who is behind the killings.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora