Pak Taliban 'suicide bombing boss' tipped to replace Hakimullah in case dead

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Islamabad, Feb. 1 (ANI): If the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone attack is confirmed, it could set off a new power struggle within the Tehrik-eTaliban Pakistan, which may conclude with the naming of Qari Hussain, the chief instructor on suicide bombers, as the new Pak-Taliban chief, according to a report published in the New York Times.

"When Baitullah Mehsud, Hakimullah Mehsud's predecessor, was killed in a drone attack last August, the Pakistani Taliban were briefly roiled by a succession struggle," the report points out.

"But the group resumed its suicide bombings, initiating even more sophisticated and numerous attacks that killed more than 500 Pakistanis since October," it adds.

According to the paper, two candidates are likely to take over from him: Wali ur-Rehman, known as the chief TTP military strategist, and Qari Hussain, the chief instructor on suicide bombers.

Hakimullah Mehsud was specifically chosen by Al Qaeda to succeed Baitullah Mehsud because he was considered most allied to it.

His role in facilitating the attack on the Khost CIA base in Afghanistan showed how much trust Al Qaeda had vested in him,.

Experts on the Pakistani Taliban think that Al Qaeda prefers Hussain, who trained with a sectarian group, Lashkar-e-Jangvi, over Rehman.

However, a cautious tone is being sounded out by Pakistan, which has still to confirm Mehsud's death.

Meanwhile, intelligence agents and local tribesmen said that Hakimullah was badly wounded and was believed to have been taken to Orakzai, an area close to South Waziristan where his wife's relatives live. (ANI)

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