Pakistan summons U.S. ambassador over Taliban leader’s death

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The Pakistani government summoned the U.S. ambassador on Saturday in protest of the death of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike.

A statement from the Pakistani Foreign Office said Friday’s strike was “counter-productive to Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability to Pakistan and the region,” Reuters reported.

The Pakistani government denounced the killing of the Taliban leader citing the failure of peace efforts.

The strike comes as Pakistan says it has started talks with the Pakistani Taliban.

The Pakistani interior minister also accused on Saturday the United States of “scuttling” efforts towards peace talks with the Taliban by killing the militants’ leader in a drone strike.

Chaudhry Nisar said “every aspect” of Pakistan’s cooperation with Washington would be reviewed following Friday’s drone attack that killed Mehsud in the country’s tribal northwest.

“The murder of Hakimullah is the murder of all efforts at peace,” I Nisar was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Americans said they support our efforts at peace. Is this support?”

Some lawmakers are now demanding to block U.S. supply lines into Afghanistan.

Shah Farman, a government spokesman representing the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told Reuters that provincial lawmakers would pass a resolution on Monday to cut NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. A major one passes through the nearby Khyber Pass.

The supply lines through Pakistan have been crucial since the latest Afghan war began in 2001 and remain vital as the United States and other Western forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Mehsud was on the U.S.’s most-wanted terrorist lists with a $5 million bounty, he is believed to have planned a deadly suicide attack at a CIA base in Afghanistan, a failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square and other brazen assaults in Pakistan that killed thousands of civilians and security forces, the Associated Press reported.

He was on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list and has been near the top of the CIA Counterterrorism Center’s most-wanted list for his role in the December 2009 suicide bombing that killed seven Americans - CIA officers and their security detail - at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the Pakistani Taliban reportedly chose Khan Said Mehsud, alias Sajna, as Meshud’s successor.

The consultative Shura Council of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was held at an undisclosed location and Sajna was elected after winning a majority of 43 votes out of 60, Pakistani media reported, quoting sources close to the militant group.

The Pakistani Taliban is an umbrella organization with different branches. It has fought the Pakistani government since 2007, seeking to overthrow the government and establish an Islamist state. It is also seeking to end Pakistan’s alliance with the United States.

The U.S. drone strike that killed Meshud is the second after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the U.S. last month where he pressed for an end to drone strikes.

(With Reuters)

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