Death of Pak's enemy no. 1 doesn't mean end of Taliban

Posted By: Staff
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Islamabad, Aug. 8 (ANI): Despite the killing of Pakistan's enemy number one Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone strike, Islamabad has a long way to go in fighting terrorism, Pakistan's Information Minister Kamran Zaman Qaira has said.

"We have a long way to go. Only killing one leader doesn't mean the other miscreants will go away," the New York Times quoted Qaira, as saying.

A senior Pakistani counter-terrorism official told the paper that Pak-Taliban chief's death may give Pakistan an opportunity to exploit the power vacuum, but the chance would be "very fleeting."

"My only apprehension is that the new leader, to prove that the Taliban is alive and kicking and to boost the morale of the rank and file, might launch a couple of spectacular terrorist acts," the paper quoted him, as saying.

While Mehsud was a pivotal figure who held together the loose and disparate network of militants in Pakistan, his death is unlikely to end the violent Taliban insurgency.

Taliban fighters said a meeting was under way to choose a successor from among Mehsud's top deputies.

Among the possible successors were the No.2, Hakimullah Mehsud, a young, brash and aggressive commander, once a driver, who was credited with disrupting NATO supply lines to Afghanistan.

"Baitullah had groomed him well for the task. He could be a natural choice, but his shooting-from-the-hip attitude may actually down his chances," a senior Pakistan official said.

Another possibility, Waliur Rehman, who became Mehsud's right-hand man, is the most likely to succeed, several Pakistani officials said.

In fact, Pakistanis who knew Mehsud said he had become less of an active operator since a serious kidney illness had become more acute.

"The war will not finish. The rest of his group is still intact; the man who prepared the suicide bombers is still alive. Army action is still necessary to take them out," Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi, former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's spy agency, said in an interview. "(ANI)

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