ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban on Saturday condemned the killing of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Chief Hakimullah Mehsud and described him as a “strong and brave” leader of the Pakistani Taliban.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was shocked at the news that Hakimullah Mehsud was martyred in a cowardly US drone attack,” the Afghan Taliban said in a formal reaction to the incident.
“The Emirate strongly condemns the American terrorist attack and consider the martyrdom of Mulla Hakimullah Mehsud as a great loss and convey condolences to his family members, relatives and Taliban friends,” a statement issued by the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said.
The Pashto language statement was emailed to The Express Tribune.
The statement said the United States cannot achieve its goals through the “martyrdom of the Mujahideen.”
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls upon the government of Pakistan and the people to double their efforts to stop such brutal American strikes,” the Taliban spokesperson said.
He said the helpless people of Afghanistan and Pakistan are suffering from the American attacks and people of the two neighbouring countries must show the courage to take the right decisions regarding their future.
TTP faction confirms Mehsud’s death
A faction of the Pakistani Taliban on Saturday confirmed the death of their chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone attack in North Waziristan tribal region on Friday.
Azam Tariq, spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in South Waziristan tribal area, said the senior Taliban leaders are involved in consultations to appoint a new chief.
“We will formally make an announcement of the new chief in a couple of days,” Tariq told journalists via phone from an undisclosed location.
He did not confirm reports that the TTP council has appointed Khan Syed alias Sajna as its new chief and insisted that meeting is still in progress somewhere in North Waziristan.
The Taliban leader criticized the government and alleged that on one hand it is talking about peace talks with the Taliban and on the other it has failed to stop the US drone strikes.
“The government will face serious consequences for their double standards,” Tariq warned.
He said talks could not be held with the government when Taliban leaders were being targeted in American drone strikes.
Sajna is the head of the TTP South Waziristan chapter and had served as deputy to the former TTP deputy Waliur Rehman Mehsud, who was also killed in a drone strike on May 29.