August 9, 2009

AND HELLFIRE AWAITS THE WINNER:

Pakistan Taliban leader's fate shrouded in claim and counter-claim (Declan Walsh, 8/09/09, guardian.co.uk)

A secret meeting to choose a successor to the slain Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud erupted into a gunbattle in which at least one senior commander was killed, Pakistani officials said.

Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, said the shootout took place in a remote mountain village on Thursday morning, one day after Mehsud was apparently killed in a US drone attack.

Guns were drawn between Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali ur Rehman, both of whom were vying to succeed Mehsud. "They had a rift in the past. A scuffle took place and one of them is dead," he told the Guardian.


Fighting Erupts Between Taliban Rivals: `The infighting was between Wali-ur-Rehman and Hakimullah Mehsud`, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters. (Javno, 8/09/09)
An intelligence officer in South Waziristan said he had reports that Hakimullah Mehsud died in the shooting after heated exchanges between the rivals at the meeting held around 4:30 p.m.(1030 GMT).

"According to reports Wali-ur-Rehman fired and killed Hakimullah Mehsud," the official said.

State-run Pakistan Television (PTV) said there were reports that both leaders might have been killed in a shoot-out.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 9, 2009 7:04 AM
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