Hakimullah`s close aide may have been killed too: Malik

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 18:28

Peshawar: Slain Tehrik-e-Taliban chief
Hakimullah Mehsud`s close aide Qari Hussain, one of his
potential successors and trainer of suicide bombers, may have
also died in the same US drone attack that killed the top
militant commander, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday.

Intercepts of militant communications have indicated that
28-year-old Mehsud had died after being wounded in a drone
attack in Shaktoi area of Waziristan tribal region, Malik told
the media after appearing in a court here.
Mehsud`s close aide Qari Hussain, the head of the local
Taliban`s suicide bombing squad, might have also died in the
same drone attack, he said.

Following reports of Mehsud`s death due to injuries
sustained in the January 14 US drone attack, top militants
like Qari Hussain, Waliur Rehman, who heads the Taliban in
South Waziristan Agency, and Asmatullah Mehsud had been tipped
as his successors.

Malik said the government will continue the war on terror
till all militants are eliminated. However, it is prepared to
negotiate with Taliban elements who lay down arms, he said.

Taliban sources in the Aurakzai tribal region had told
the media yesterday that Mehsud had died near Multan in Punjab
province on Sunday while being taken to Karachi for medical
treatment.

However, there were also reports that Mehsud had died in
his father-in-law`s village in Aurakzai tribal agency some
time ago and had been buried in the region.

The Taliban in Aurakzai agency have named Qari Noor Jamal
alias Maulana Toofan as their new acting chief in the area.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Azam Tariq has denied
reports of Mehsud`s death.
Malik said the government had sufficient evidence about
the killing of Mehsud but it was still subject to confirmation
by sources who could be relied upon.

The minister said no talks were being held with the
militants.

However, the government is prepared to negotiate with
Taliban elements if they stopped suicide attacks and laid down
arms, he said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 18:28

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