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Taliban Names A New Pakistan Leader

From his media representatives at the Associated Press:

Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud poses and fires bullets for a group of media representatives in 2008.

Ruthless new Pakistan Taliban leader named

By Ishtiaq Mahsud, Associated Press Writer

MAKEEN, Pakistan – Pakistani Taliban fighters are committed to helping the fight in Afghanistan and consider Barack Obama their "No 1 enemy," a top commander said amid uncertainty Sunday about whether a new leader has been appointed to head the movement.

Waliur Rehman made the remarks in an interview with the Associated Press at a time of intense speculation over the next leader of the al-Qaida-allied group. A CIA missile strike on Aug. 5 is believed to have killed former chief Baitullah Meshsud. Rehman, a cousin of Baitullah, is seen as a strong candidate for the post.

Speaking Saturday — before aides to another Taliban commander said a second contender, Hakimullah Meshud, had been appointed the next chief — Rehman said Baitullah had given him full control over the network and that a new leader "would be chosen within five days."

He did not refer to the claim that Hakimullah had become the leader — an omission that will add to doubts about whether that appointment had been agreed by all the top Taliban members. It will also likely be taken as a further sign the movement and its up to 25,000 fighters remain split over the succession.

Rehman met the AP in a forest near Makeen village in the heart of the semiautonomous lands close to the Afghan border where al-Qaida and the Taliban hold sway. Looking healthy and dressed in clean, ironed clothes, he was accompanied by five armed guards

"We are with Afghan Taliban. We will keep on helping them until America and its allies are expelled," he said, adding this did not mean an end to attacks in Pakistan. "American President Obama and his allies are our enemy No 1," he said. "We will sacrifices our bodies, hearts and money to fight them."

Like most other members of the Taliban network, he insisted Baitullah was alive but sick, hence the need for a new chief. U.S. and Pakistani officials are almost certain he is dead, especially since the Taliban have provided no proof he is alive.

Two close aides to another commander, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, told The Associated Press on Saturday a 42-member Taliban council, or shura, had appointed Hakimullah their new leader in an unanimous decision on Friday.

"Now all these talks of differences should end," said one of the aides, Bakht Zada. "There have not been any differences ever."

Mohammed Amir Rana, an expert on Pakistani militant groups, said he believed the Taliban had not agreed on a replacement.

"Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is trying to manipulate the race by announcing to the press that Hakimullah is the head," he said. "Until now there is no consensus," he said, adding that supporters of Waliur Rehman, did not accept him.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government had received intelligence reports about Hakimullah’s appointment "as the chief terrorist" but there was no official confirmation. The Dawn newspaper quoted one unidentified intelligence officer as saying the announcement "was a ruse" as part of the ongoing power struggle.

Earlier this month, Malik had claimed Rehman and Hakimullah had been killed in a shootout between rival factions over who should take over the Taliban and its arms and cash.

"There was no truth in those claims of mine or his death," Rehman said. "It is futile propaganda by enemies."

Has the Pakistan Supreme Court signed off on this appointment? Have the lawyers?

After all, the niceties must be observed or there will be hell to pay.

By the way, it used to strike us as odd how readily the Taliban could find eager and willing replacements to fill the sandals of their recently departed leaders.

But then we realized – what’s the worst that could happen to them? Paradise and 72 virgins?

Or, second prize, an all expenses trip to Bermuda?

And there’s a recession going on, you know.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, August 23rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Taliban Names A New Pakistan Leader”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    There may well be a recession going on but as long as they (how you say) keep refilling the sandals of their newly departed …………… there will be Predator drones and missiles that will empty those sandals yet again.

    *Boeing Aircraft and Rayethon …………… Depleting the Taliban “One set of sandals at a time”

  2. DGA says:

    Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud poses and fires bullets for a group of media representatives in 2008.

    Fires a couple of bullets until that PKM won’t feed anymore, untrained muslim idiot.

  3. chidis says:

    Oh look, it’s Johnny Depp; and the dude who acted as the dwarf in ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

    It’s the Pakipirates.

    Who are these people kidding? I don’t think that fool has ever fired that weapon.

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