Pakistani Taliban choose new chief in place of Fazlullah
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani Taliban militants have chosen a religious scholar as their new chief in place of Mullah Fazlullah, the insurgent leader who ordered the assassination of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and was killed earlier this month in a U.S. drone strike.
Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said Saturday that the executive council of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan appointed Mufti Noor Wali Mahsud as its new chief and Mufti Mazhim, aka Mufti Hafzullah, as his deputy.
Khurasani conceded for the first time that Mullah Fazlullah was killed in the drone attack in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
A ruthless leader, Fazlullah ordered the beheading of dozens of opponents when his band of insurgents controlled Pakistan’s picturesque Swat Valley from 2007 until a massive military operation routed them out in 2009.