KABUL: The Afghan Taliban on Saturday described the killing of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud as “a big loss” and urged Islamabad to prevent any further US drone strikes.
Mehsud, who was under a $5 million US government bounty, was killed when a drone targeted his car in the North Waziristan tribal district of Pakistan, near the Afghan border.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this terror act by America and describes the martyrdom of Mullah Hakimullah Mehsud as a big loss,” the Taliban said in a statement, using the group's formal name.
“America can not create a vacuum or achieve their evil goals by martyring mujahideen.”
“The Islamic Emirate calls on the Pakistani people and government to make more effort than at any other time to prevent such brutal attacks by the American invaders,” said the statement.
Haqqani network vows to avenge US
Meanwhile, a spokesman of al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban-backed Haqqani Network vowed to avenge the US for killing Hakimullah Mehsud.
Speaking to Dawn.com from an undisclosed location, Ahmed Yousuf said the US was not fighting with the Taliban, but in fact, he added "it was waging a war against Muslims and the Islam."
The United States blames the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban waging a 12-year insurgency in Afghanistan, for a series of high-profile attacks in recent years.
The militant outfit was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a mujahideen leader against Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s who is now based with his family in Pakistan.
Haqqani is close to al Qaeda and his fighters are active across east and southeastern Afghanistan and in Kabul.
– with additional reporting by Zahir Shah Sherazi from Peshawar