Hakimullah was a wanted man, provided safe haven to al Qaeda: US
Last Updated: Sunday, November 03, 2013, 17:01
  
Islamabad: Amid accusation by Pakistan that America deliberately sabotaged peace talks by killing Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, the US on Sunday said the militant group has a "symbiotic relationship" with al Qaeda and acts like its force multiplier besides providing "safe haven" to terrorists.

The US Embassy here said it was "not in a position" to confirm whether Hakimullah was killed in a CIA drone strike on Friday in lawless North Waziristan tribal region.

"However, let us be clear that Hakimullah Mehsud is considered the commander of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the group that claimed responsibility for the failed bombing of Times Square in New York City on May 1, 2010.

"In addition TTP and al-Qaeda have a symbiotic relationship; TTP draws ideological guidance from al Qaeda, while al-Qaeda relies on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border," Sandeep Paul, Acting US Embassy Spokesperson, told a news agency.

This mutual cooperation gives TTP access to both Qaeda's global terrorist network and the operational experience of its members, he said.

"Given the proximity of the two groups and the nature of their relationship, TTP is a force multiplier for Qaeda," he said.

Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar yesterday condemned the US strike as a "murder of peace in the region", saying a team of religious clerics was about to meet the TTP with a view to starting peace talks when Mehsud was killed.

"Brick by brick in the last seven weeks we tried to evolve a process by which we could bring peace to Pakistan and what have you (the US) done?" he said.

"You have scuttled it on the eve, 18 hours before a formal delegation of respected ulema (religious scholars) was to fly to Miranshah and hand over this formal invitation," he said yesterday.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, November 03, 2013, 15:09


comments powered by Disqus