News / Asia

Pakistan Taliban Secretly Bury Leader

FILE - Pakistan Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud (L) during a news conference in South Waziristan, May 24, 2008
FILE - Pakistan Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud (L) during a news conference in South Waziristan, May 24, 2008
Reuters
Pakistani Taliban fighters secretly buried their leader early on Saturday after he was killed by a U.S. drone aircraft and quickly moved to replace him while vowing a wave of suicide bombs in revenge.
    
The Pakistani government denounced the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud as a U.S bid to derail planned peace talks and some politicians demanded that U.S. military supply lines into Afghanistan be blocked in response.
    
Mehsud, who had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, and three others were killed on Friday in the militant stronghold of Miranshah in northwest Pakistan, Pakistani security officials and militants said.
    
Mehsud's vehicle was hit after he attended a meeting of Taliban leaders, a Pakistani Taliban fighter said, adding Mehsud's body was "damaged but recognizable". His bodyguard and driver were also killed.
    
He was secretly buried under cover of darkness in the early hours by a few companions amid fears that his funeral might be attacked  by U.S. drones, militants and Pakistani security sources said.
    
"Every drop of Hakimullah's blood will turn into a suicide bomber," said Azam Tariq, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman.
    
"America and their friends shouldn't be happy because we will take revenge for our martyr's blood."
    
Mehsud took over as leader of the al-Qaida-linked Pakistani Taliban in 2009. The group's two previous leaders were killed in attacks by U.S. missile-firing drones.
    
Taliban commanders voted to replace him with the movement's number two, Khan Said, who is also known as Sajna.
    
Said is believed to have masterminded an attack on a jail in northwest Pakistan that freed nearly 400 prisoners in 2012 and a big attack on a Pakistani naval base.
    
But some commanders were unhappy with the choice and wanted more talks, several militants said, indicating divisions within the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella group of factions allied with the Afghan Taliban and battling the Pakistani state in the hope of imposing Islamist rule.
    
They have killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and numerous members of the security forces. They claimed the killing of an army general in September.
    
In Washington, two U.S. officials also confirmed Mehsud's death in a CIA drone strike. A White House spokeswoman said he was not in a position to confirm the report but if true, it would be a serious loss for the Pakistani Taliban.
    
In 2010, Mehsud appeared in a farewell video with a Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees at a base in Afghanistan.
    
"Attack on talks"
    
Mehsud was in his mid-30s and had a sharp face framed by a beard and a tangle of long hair, usually flowing from beneath a traditional Afghan hat.
    
Despite his reputation as an uncompromising militant commander, Pakistan's new government had promised to try to stop the violence through peace talks and it reacted angrily to Mehsud's killing.
    
"The U.S. has tried to attack the peace talks with this drone but we will not let them fail," Information Minister Pervez Rashid told media, referring to the negotiations, which the Taliban said on Friday had yet to start.
    
Shah Farman, a spokesman for the government of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said provincial legislators would pass a resolution on Monday to cut NATO supply lines into landlocked Afghanistan. A main one passes through the nearby Khyber Pass.
    
The supply lines through U.S. ally Pakistan have been crucial since the latest Afghan war began in 2001 and remain vital as the United States and other Western forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of next year.
    
Residents of Miranshah, the capital of the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border, said Pakistani Taliban fighters were converging on the town and firing furiously at drones buzzing high in the sky.
    
About eight drones were seen overhead as well as a larger aircraft that seemed to be a aeroplane or a type of drone that residents said they had not seen before.
    
"We thought it was a C-130 aircraft but it was a special spy plane, bigger in size," resident Farhad Khan said by telephone from Miranshah. "The militants fired from their anti-aircraft guns to hit it but couldn't."
    
Shops and markets were open in the town. Residents said they were worried about a possible army offensive, but not Taliban reprisals. They expected the militants to launch attacks elsewhere in Pakistan.
    
"We feel the militants will show their reaction in major cities like they usually do," said resident Assadullah Dawar said.
    
In May, Mehsud's deputy was killed by drone nearby. Last month, one of his top deputies was captured in Afghanistan.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Tour Will Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

US secretary of state to visit 5 countries in the Middle East, South Asia in bid to strengthen economic and security ties, ease concerns over deal with Tehran More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs