05 March 2012

Pakistan Taliban Power Struggle

Hey, maybe if we just wait them out, their own internal politics will do them in? Nah. More likely ours will.

The head of the Pakistani Taliban has removed his deputy commander, the militant group confirmed to the BBC, in a sign of a growing power struggle.

Hakimullah Mehsud demoted Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, who was the second-highest ranking Taliban leader, at a Taliban council of leaders on Sunday.

No reason was given but correspondents say the move is the latest sign of a rift within the group.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad has not yet been replaced by another militant commander.

A Taliban spokesman told BBC Urdu that he had been removed with immediate effect but that the Taliban leadership was considering appointing him to some other position within the group.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says the decision is the latest sign of a growing rift within the Pakistani Taliban - known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) - that began when its former leader, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in August 2009.

By: Brant

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