Power struggle in Taliban could erupt again: Report

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Washington, Aug.27 (ANI): Observers believe that the power struggle in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) could erupt again following the announcement of its new chief after the banned outfit admitted, after weeks of denial, that Baitullah Mehsud had indeed been killed in US drone strike earlier this month.

The TTP may have announced the name of its new leader, but observers believe the infighting would continue in the banned outfit.

According to a report in the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), Hakimullah Mehsud, who has been appointed as the TTP chief would be in nominal charge but his rival Waliur Rehman will take charge of Waziristan, which could fuel the rivalry among the two militant leaders.

"The real power is in Waziristan, and Waliur Rehman will run things there," said Saifullah Mehsud, an analyst at the FATA Research Center.

"It's a clever compromise formula. Waliur Rehman has the real power," Mehsud added.

According to a tribesman in South Waziristan, who refused to be named, Hakimullah, believed to be just 28, had threatened to form a breakaway group if he wasn't given the title of leader.

"In order to avoid bloodshed, Waliur Rehman has been forced by the Afghan side to agree. He's a decent, respected guy," said the tribesman.

Analysts also believe that Al-Qaeda could have backed Hakimullah, as he is linked closely to two banned terrorist groups in Pakistan, the Sipah-e-Sahaba and it's supposedly offshoot, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is believed to take command directly from Al-Qaeda chief Osama-bin- Laden.

According to an unconfirmed report the rivalry between the two top Taliban leaders had led to a gun battle earlier this month in which both were injured, suggesting that the power struggle in the Taliban could erupt again. (ANI)

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