Mon, Nov 04, 2013 - Page 5 News List

US denies drones killed off peace plans

INSURGENCY TO CONTINUE?The leader of a group that for six years has masterminded attacks was killed, but some insist that his demise means peace is lost

AFP, MIRANSHAH, Pakistan

“Taliban will not talk with Pakistan until drone strikes are stopped,” he said.

Opposition parties accused Washington of using the drone strike to stymie the peace process before talks proper had even started.

Former cricketer Imran Khan, leader of the Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party that rules in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, said the strike had “sabotaged” peace talks and showed the US did not want peace in Pakistan.

The PTI said it would call an emergency session of the provincial assembly to block NATO supply convoys transiting Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on their way to Afghanistan.

Pakistan blocked all NATO supply routes through its territory for seven months last year in protest at a botched US air raid that killed 24 soldiers.

For the US, Mehsud’s death will represent a success for the CIA’s drone program at a time when it is under intense scrutiny over civilian casualties.

However, the killing has prompted fears of TTP reprisals, as happened after the death of founder Baitullah Mehsud in 2009.

The TTP has risen to become arguably the biggest security threat facing Pakistan. It was behind the 2008 bombing of the Islamabad Marriott hotel and the attempt to kill schoolgirl activist Malala Yousufzai last year.

The TTP also claimed the 2010 Times Square bomb plot after training Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad.

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