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Death of Waliur Rehman confirmed: Taliban retract offer for talks

Published May 31, 2013 04:25am

MIRAMSHAH, May 30: The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has confirmed the killing of their front-rank leader Waliur Rehman in Wednesday’s US drone attack and, at the same time, withdrawn its offer for peace talks.

It has also announced that it would avenge the death and get even with the government and military establishment.

“We announce an end to our peace overtures because we believe that the Pakistani government is equally involved in the drone attack,” TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in a statement on Thursday. He said the death of Waliur Rehman would not “dampen our spirit” but would add to our determination.

The spokesman declined to comment on Waliur Rehman’s likely successor, saying an announcement to the effect would come after a Shura meeting.

Waliur Rehman was the deputy chief of the TTP and its commander-in-charge for South Waziristan.

The US attack evoked a strong reaction from Pakistan and according to TV channel reports, Imran Khan, the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, called incoming prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to either get drone attacks stopped or decide to shoot them down.

Meanwhile, signs of differences have emerged within the Pakistani Taliban over the issue of Waliur Rehman’s successor and militant leaders from South Waziristan met in Miramshah and nominated Khan Said to be their new commander.The 36-year-old Khan Saeed, also known as Sajna, was nominated by six militant leaders belonging to his group. Sajna was not present at the meeting. He was reported to be in Afghanistan on Wednesday when Wali was killed.

“Like Wali, Sajna is also more active across the border than in Pakistan’s tribal region,” an official of the tribal administration said.

“Sajna has no basic education, conventional or religious, but he is battle-hardened and has experience of fighting in Afghanistan,” the official said. He said Sajna was involved in the Bannu prison attack in April last year which led to escape of nearly 400 prisoners.

BURIAL: Waliur Rehman was buried hours after he was killed in a drone strike on Wednesday, Pakistani intelligence officials and militants said on Thursday, agencies add.