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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid