— The Erimtan Angle —

‘Three weeks after agreeing to “serious talks” with the government, the Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, has been killed by an American drone strike. Mehsud’s death has been wrongly reported at least twice, but this is confirmed (1 November 2013)’.

In the aftermath of Mehsud’s death, the BBC reports that the ‘Taliban in Pakistan are continuing discussions on who should be their next leader after Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike on Friday [, 1 November]. Reports on Saturday [, 2 November] that they had made their choice were later denied. Among the candidates named by local media is a regional commander said to be open to the idea of peace talks. Pakistan has accused the US of violating its sovereignty. The US State Department referred to Mehsud’s alleged role in attacks on US citizens. Pakistan’s security cabinet is expected to meet over the next few days, once Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returns from a visit to London. “Every aspect of Pakistan’s co-operation and relations with Washington will be reviewed following the situation created after Mehsud’s killing,” said Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan’.[1]

The BBC continues that ‘Mr Nisar said Friday’s strike on Mehsud was “not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts.” A Pakistani delegation had been due to fly to the tribal area of North Waziristan on Saturday [, 2 November] to meet Mehsud to discuss possible peace talks. A US state department official said talks with the Taliban were “an internal matter” for Pakistan. Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest over the drone strike. The Taliban held their own meeting, or shura, in North Waziristan on Saturday [, 2 November], on the same day as Mehsud’s funeral. Reports circulated that regional Taliban commander Khan Said Sajna had been elected to the top job. However, these were later denied. Khan Said Sajna is said to be in favour of accepting the government’s current offer of talks, says the BBC’s Richard Galpin, in Islamabad. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had pledged to talk with the Taliban to try to end its campaign of violence, which has left thousands dead in bombings and shootings across the country’.[2]

The ‘Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is an alliance of militant groups in Pakistan formed in 2007 to unify groups fighting against the Pakistani military in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. TTP leaders also hope to impose a strict interpretation of Qur‘anic instruction throughout Pakistan and to expel Coalition troops from Afghanistan. TTP maintains close ties to senior al-Qa‘ida leaders, including al-Qa‘ida’s former head of operations in Pakistan’.[3]

[1] “Hakimullah Mehsud: Pakistan Taliban discuss new leader” BBC News (03 November 2013). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24793440.

[2] “Hakimullah Mehsud: Pakistan Taliban discuss new leader”.

[3] “Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)” National Counterterrorism Center. http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/ttp.html.


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