Pakistani Taliban threaten to target Zardari, NATO convoys

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Islamabad, Nov 27 (UNI) The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander for three Pakistani tribal regions, Hakimullah Mahsud, has threatened to target President Asif Ali Zardari, his allies and convoys supplying weapons and other goods to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan if the US did not stop the drone attacks inside Pakistan.

Talking to a group of journalists yesterday, he said their fighters would increase attacks on convoys passing through the Khyber Agency to cut off the supply line to the US forces stationed in Afghanistan.

Condemning series of US drone attacks inside Pakistan, he said these attacks would not deter them from continuing the Jihad in Afghanistan against the US and NATO forces.

Disowning all kidnappings of foreign diplomats carried out recently in northwestern city of Peshawar, he said the Afghan ambassador-designate, the Iranian attache and other high-profile personalities had not been kidnapped by the TTP.

Hakimullah, who is the commander for Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai tribal regions, said they claimed responsibility for each and every attack they had carried out and would do so in the future.

He said criminal gangs were involved in these kidnappings but went on to say that the TTP would take action against these people.

He also distanced the TTP, headed by Baitullah Mehsud, from bomb blasts at video shops and said the government must investigate such incidents while they would also do so in their own capacity to punish those maligning them.

Mehsud had been accused by the previous government of masterminding assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto in garrison town of Rawalpindi in December last year.

Hakimullah claimed that some people had been taking money by using his and Baitullah Mehsud's name. He added they would check such practices. The militants showed an armoured vehicle they had snatched after an attack on a convoy taking these vehicles to the allied forces.

UNI XC SKB BST1208

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