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Hakimullah`s close aide killed in Jan 14 drone attack

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 20:56

Peshawar: Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud`s close aide Qari Hussain, the trainer of suicide bombers, was killed in the same US drone attack that fatally injured him, sources said on Tuesday.
The sources in Aurakzai tribal region, who did not
want to be identified for security reasons, told PTI that Qari
Hussain died in the drone attack in Shaktoi area of North
Waziristan on January 14.

Wali-ur-Rehman, the chief military strategist of the
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and another close aide of Hakimullah
Mehsud, too has been missing since that drone attack, the
sources said.

Tribal elders and state-run PTV had said on Sunday
that Mehsud had died of injuries sustained in the drone attack
in the home of his father-in-law in Aurazkzai Agency.

The government and the military did not confirm the
death while the Taliban dismissed reports of Mehsud`s demise
as propaganda floated by security agencies.

The central `shura` or council of the Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan has been considering the names of several militant
commanders as a replacement for Mehsud, sources said.

Among the names being considered by the shura are
Malik Noor Jamal alias Maulana Toofan, Sayed Khan Mamozai,
Ziaur Rehman alias Mulla Zaver, Gul Zaman and Daulat Khan.

The Taliban are expected to make a formal announcement
about Mehsud`s death only after they have decided on his

The militants had adopted a similar tactic after
Mehsud?s predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a US
drone strike in South Waziristan in August last year.

Sources said the Taliban were also delaying the
announcement of Hakimullah Mehsud`s death under a tactical
strategy as they wanted to avert a power struggle within their
ranks and to have a smooth transfer of power to his successor
without any bloodshed.

Meanwhile, reports from Aurakzai Agency said local
commander Malik Noor Jamal had begun officiating as the acting
head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Jamal will reportedly head the organization until the
Taliban leadership decides its next course of action.

The reports also said Hakimullah Mehsud died after the
Taliban were unable to bring in a doctor to Aurakzai Agency
from the nearby Hangu district.

The closure of almost all roads leading to Aurakzai
Agency by security forces too prevented the militants from
bringing a doctor.


First Published: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 20:56

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