Hakeemullah's death, a battle won but no precursor to winning war: Riedel

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Washington, Feb.3 (ANI): While mystery still surrounds the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakeemullah Mehsud's death in a US drone strike earlier this year, former CIA official and one of President Barack Obama's key advisors Bruce Riedel believes that his death would hardly have any impact on the outlawed terror outfits goals.

Riedel, who is currently a Senior Fellow in foreign policy at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution, said the Taliban would continue to work towards its aim which is to disrupt the Pakistani society so as to make the country ungovernable, hoping that the chaos will lead to a jihadist takeover.

Riedel said that even if the reports regarding Hakeemullah's death are true, it will not have a major impact on the Taliban's plan, as there are dozens of Hakeemullah's waiting in the line.

"Mehsud's (Hakeemullah) passing is merely a battle victory. Although his death may temporarily offset the momentum of the Pakistani Taliban, make no mistake, there are a hundred more Mehsud's waiting in the shadows. The war is far from being decided," Riedel said.

He drew attention towards the rapidly expanding threat of the Taliban, which has engulfed the port city of Karachi too. Pakistan's financial capital has until now remained untouched from deadly terror attacks, which have killed hundreds in other parts of the country over the years.

"Their immediate objective appears to be to destabilize the country's largest port, Karachi, by provoking ethnic and sectarian violence between the city's various communities. iolence in Karachi directly threatens the NATO mission in Afghanistan as well, since more than three quarters of NATO's supplies arrive via Karachi," Riedel said.

The TTP has expanded its nefarious network and ghastly acts outside the ungoverned tribal regions at an enormous rate over the last few years, conducting attacks from Kashmir in the north to Karachi in the south.

It has shown its strength by triggering attacks in some of the most secured zones in Pakistan, like those in Rawalpindi, which is the country's military capital, at a time when it was believed that its back has been broken with the death of Baitullah Mehsud.

Hakeemullah's death would only see the more ferocious Qari Hussain taking charge.

Hussain, who is considered the father of suicide bombers and a top lieutenant of Hakimullah, was also reported to have been killed in a drone strike in Makeen, South Waziristan, last summer, but later reemerged in the October press conference alongside Rehman and Hakimullah.

A cousin of former leader Baitullah, Hussain's reputation was built on running training camps for suicide bombers and directing a series of suicide bomb attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) aimed at killing tribal elders and supplanting their rule.

Hakeemullah's death may force the Taliban to postpone its terror programme for the time being at best, but it would definitely not have any significant affect on the banned terror group's long term agenda. (ANI)

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