Pak Affairs

Taliban commander threatens to target Zardari

MAMOUZAI: A Pakistani Taliban commander Hakeemullah has threatened to target President Asif Ali Zardari, his allies and Pak Army as they continue operations against his followers. Hakeemullah is a lieutenant of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taliban who was accused by the previous government and US intelligence of masterminding the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto last year.

He vowed to increase attacks on NATO and US forces in Afghanistan and block their supply lines through Pakistan’s tribal areas. “We will increase attacks on the NATO and US forces based in Afghanistan and the supply of goods from Pakistan to these forces,” Hakeemullah told reporters taken on a rare trip to the group’s stronghold in Orakzai tribal region.

“We will not lay down arms as long as Pakistan’s army does not stop operations against us,” Hakeemullah said, adding that his chief, Mehsud, head of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement, was in good health.

Hakeemullah said his fighters would target political leaders in Pakistan. “We will also carry out attacks against the Pakistan People’s Party (led by Zardari) and Awami National Party leadership,” he said, referring to two of the parties that comprise Pakistan’s fragile coalition government.-SANA

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Mubashar Nizam

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