Hakimullah Mehsud appears in video, claims killing ex-ISI man

Posted By: Pti
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A Muhammad

Peshawar, Feb 19 (PTI) Pakistani Taliban chiefHakimullah Mehsud appeared in a video issued by militantstoday to claim responsibility for killing a former ISIofficial, kidnapped in the Waziristan tribal region last year.

Militant spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan, in a message sentto PTI, accepted responsibility for the killing of ColonelImam on behalf of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. He said themilitants had released a video that showed the killing andcontained a message from Mehsud.

Imam was widely respected by the Afghan Taliban forhis role in the Afghan Jihad against Soviet forces during1979-89. He had described himself as the "teacher" of AfghanTaliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar in several interviews.

Clips from the video aired on TV news channels showedMehsud, flanked by two armed men, standing behind Colonel Imamas he sat on the ground.

"The video will show Taliban fighters firing atColonel Imam�Colonel Imam is no more in this world," Ahsantold the news channels.

This was the first time that the Pakistani Talibanadmitted that Colonel Imam had been in their custody.

Earlier, the hitherto unheard of Asian Tigers hadclaimed responsibility for kidnapping the former ISI officialin March last year.

The family of the veteran intelligence officer hassaid it had received reports about his death but there was noconfirmation from any independent source.

The Pakistani media had reported last month thatColonel Imam was executed by the Asian Tigers in NorthWaziristan Agency after authorities turned down its demandsfor his release.

The abductors had reportedly demanded Rs 50 millionand the release of some jailed militants for Colonel Imam�sfreedom.

Colonel Imam was kidnapped with another former ISIofficial, Khalid Khwaja, and Asad Qureshi, a Britishjournalist of Pakistani origin, in Waziristan last year.

Qureshi was released in September after paying aransom of Rs 20 million while Khwaja was executed by hiscaptors in April 2010.

The Asian Tigers had accused Khwaja of spying forthe CIA. Analysts believe the kidnappers were a group ofmilitants from the Mehsud tribe and Punjabi Taliban rebels ledby Sabir Mahsud and Usman Punjabi.

Imama had served as Pakistan''s consul general in thewestern Afghan city of Herat after the installation of aTaliban government in Kabul.

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