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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid