Pakistan Taliban Meet to Pick New Leader, Vow Revenge

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 2 2013 4:34 PM

Pakistan Taliban Meet to Pick New Leader, Vow Revenge

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A Pakistani protester from United Citizen Action (UCA) holds a burning US flag as others shout anti-US slogans during a protest against the killing of Taliban leaderHakimullah Mehsud in a US drone attack

Photo by S.S MIRZA/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistani Taliban commanders met on Saturday to bury Hakimullah Mehsud, the terrorist leader who was killed Friday by a US drone strike, and choose his successor. They also vowed revenge for the killing, which Pakistani officials say nixes any possibility of peace talks with the Taliban. "This is not just the killing of one person, it's the death of all peace efforts," Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan’s interior minister, said, according to the BBC. Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest the killing that came a day before a Pakistan delegation was scheduled to go to North Waziristan for a meeting with Mehsud, who had a $5 million bounty on his head.

Mehsud was secretly buried early Saturday as Taliban commanders said they would carry out attacks as revenge for the killing. "Every drop of Hakimullah's blood will turn into a suicide bomber," Azam Tariq, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman, said, according to Reuters. "America and their friends shouldn't be happy because we will take revenge for our martyr's blood." There are apparently four candidates in the running to replace Mehsud, although the clear favorite seems to be Khan Said, the current number two. Said and Mehsud were rivals but he has the support of powerful Taliban factions, according to the New York Times.

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Some politicians in Pakistan have said the country should begin to block Nato supply lines to Afghanistan unless drone strikes stop, reports the Guardian. Following a high-level government meeting Saturday, the country’s interior minister said the drone strike that killed Mehsud was “an attack on regional peace by America,” and that bilateral ties with the United Sates will be reviewed, reports Dawn.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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