Hakimullah Mehsud claims killing ex-ISI man

Last Updated: Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 21:41

Peshawar: Pakistani Taliban chief
Hakimullah Mehsud appeared in a video issued by militants
on Saturday to claim responsibility for killing former a former ISI
official, kidnapped in the Waziristan tribal region last year.

Militant spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan, in a message sent
to a news agency, accepted responsibility for the killing of Colonel
Imam on behalf of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. He said the
militants had released a video that showed the killing and
contained a message from Mehsud.

Imam was widely respected by the Afghan Taliban for
his role in the Afghan Jihad against Soviet forces during
1979-89. He had described himself as the "teacher" of Afghan
Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar in several interviews.

Clips from the video aired on TV news channels showed
Mehsud, flanked by two armed men, standing behind Colonel Imam
as he sat on the ground.

"The video will show Taliban fighters firing at
Colonel Imam Colonel Imam is no more in this world," Ahsan
told the news channels.

This was the first time that the Pakistani Taliban
admitted that Colonel Imam had been in their custody.
Earlier, the hitherto unheard of Asian Tigers had
claimed responsibility for kidnapping the former ISI official
in March last year.

The family of the veteran intelligence officer has
said it had received reports about his death but there was no
confirmation from any independent source.

The Pakistani media had reported last month that
Colonel Imam was executed by the Asian Tigers in North
Waziristan Agency after authorities turned down its demands
for his release.

The abductors had reportedly demanded Rs 50 million
and the release of some jailed militants for Colonel Imam?s
freedom.

Colonel Imam was kidnapped with another former ISI
official, Khalid Khwaja, and Asad Qureshi, a British
journalist of Pakistani origin, in Waziristan last year.

Qureshi was released in September after paying a
ransom of Rs 20 million while Khwaja was executed by his
captors in April 2010.

The Asian Tigers had accused Khwaja of spying for
the CIA. Analysts believe the kidnappers were a group of
militants from the Mehsud tribe and Punjabi Taliban rebels led
by Sabir Mahsud and Usman Punjabi.

Imama had served as Pakistan`s consul general in the
western Afghan city of Herat after the installation of a
Taliban government in Kabul.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 21:41

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