US Strike on Taliban Leader Kills Peace Efforts: Pakistan

Militants said to have picked new chief

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 2, 2013 5:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – Seeking peace, Pakistani officials were due to meet with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud today—a day after the US reportedly killed him in a drone attack. Now, Pakistani officials are expressing outrage over the strike, and they've summoned the US ambassador to make their views known, the BBC reports. "This is not just the killing of one person, it's the death of all peace efforts," says interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. He adds that "every aspect" of US-Pakistani ties will face review.

The country's information minister, Pervez Rashid, suggested peace efforts could be salvaged: "The US has tried to attack the peace talks with this drone, but we will not let them fail." Mehsud had previously been falsely reported dead, but it appears that this time the reports are accurate: Taliban members secretly buried him today, fighters and security figures tell Reuters. One militant said his body was "damaged but recognizable." The Taliban vowed revenge. "Every drop of Hakimullah's blood will turn into a suicide bomber," says a spokesman. The group may already have chosen a successor, with unconfirmed reports pointing to Khan Said Sajna, a regional commander. But Reuters suggests there are disagreements over the choice.

In this Oct. 4, 2009 file photo, Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen during a meeting with media near the Afghanistan border.
In this Oct. 4, 2009 file photo, Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen during a meeting with media near the Afghanistan border.   (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mehsud, File)
Pakistan's Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali, gestures during a press conference regarding the killing of Pakistani Taliban chief, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Pakistan's Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali, gestures during a press conference regarding the killing of Pakistani Taliban chief, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 in Islamabad, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
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