Taliban vow wave of revenge attacks in Pakistan

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The Pakistani Taliban vowed on Friday they would orchestrate a wave of revenge attacks against Islamabad after naming hardline commander Mullah Fazlullah as their new leader, Reuters reported.

“We will target security forces, government installations, political leaders and police,” Asmatullah Shaheen, head of the shura, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

He said the Taliban’s main target included army and government installations in Punjab province, the political stronghold of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Shaheen added: “We have a plan. But I want to make one thing clear. We will not target civilians, bazaars or public places. People do not need to be afraid.”

The rise of Fazlullah, known for his fierce Islamist views and rejection of peace talks, by the Taliban shura, or leadership council, a day earlier follows the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, the previous leader, in a U.S. drone strike on Nov. 1.

Shaheen criticized the Pakistani government for allowing U.S. drone strikes in the country.

“Pakistan has full information about drone attacks,” said Shaheen. “Pakistan is a slave of America. It is an American colony.”

While Pakistan has publicly denounced U.S. drone strikes and described it as a breach of its sovereignty, its private officials admit the government broadly supports them.

Militants are mainly holed up in remote areas on the Afghan border where the army has no presence.

Meanwhile, no meaningful talks have taken place since Sharif’s election and Fazlullah’s ascent to power could signal the start of a new period of uncertainty and violence in the already unstable region.

(With Reuters)