Pakistani Taliban names new leader

The Pakistani Taliban announced a successor to Baitullah Mehsud who was believed killed in a US attack earlier this month.

Pakistani Taliban names new leader

The Pakistani Taliban announced a successor to Baitullah Mehsud who was believed killed in a US attack earlier this month.

Taliban officials rang journalists in northwest Pakistan on Saturday to say Hakimullah Mehsud, a young man who commands fighters in the Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram tribal regions, had been chosen as the new chief by a leadership council, or shura.

A BBC report quoted Faqir Mohammad, head of the Taliban in the Bajaur tribal region, as saying Hakimullah was selected.

Tribal elders told Reuters that Hakimullah was named after Faqir Mohammad was dissuaded from taking the leadership, although earlier he had said he was taking temporary command.

"There's confusion. Two days ago, Fariq Mohammad claimed he's acting chief and now he says Hakimullah is," one senior intelligence officer in northwest Pakistan said. "It's a trick."

Intelligence officials insisted Hakimullah was killed or gravely wounded in a shootout with a rival days after Baitullah Mehsud was killed by a U.S. missile strike on Aug. 5.

"The announcement is real, but the man isn't," the officer said. "The real Hakimullah is dead."

Another senior officer, who requested anonymity, speculated that the Taliban leadership was trying to buy time until one of Hakimullah's brothers returned from fighting in the Afghan insurgency to take command of his men.

Taliban officials say Pakistani intelligence agents were spreading misinformation to create divisions in the movement.

The Taliban have denied that Mehsud was killed in the missile strike, but say he is seriously ill.

Baitullah had united 13 factions in northwest Pakistan to form the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in late 2007.

Tribal elders said Faqir Mohammad was told to drop ideas of leading the Taliban as it would only bring more trouble to Bajaur, a region where the army declared victory in March after a six-month offensive.


Reuters

Last Mod: 23 Ağustos 2009, 15:48
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