Over 100 Taliban Surrender; Chief Hakimullah Dead

Over 100 Taliban militants have voluntarily given up their arms and surrendered to defence forces in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. In the meanwhile, media reports have suggested that the newly elected Pakistani Taliban chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, is dead.

According to the Pakistan army, 105 militants surrendered of their own free will in the 24 hours to Tuesday evening in the Swat valley of NWFP.

Inter Services Public Relations said that 19 other militants were nabbed in the Swat and Malakand regions. While 2 militants were killed in a shoot out and a large quantity of weapons was seized.

Since its offensive against Taliban launched in April, Pakistani defence forces have so far killed 1, 700 militants.

In the meanwhile, media reports have suggested that Pakistani Taliban chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, is dead.

Earlier, authorities had said that Hakimullah was killed in a succession war with Wali-ur-Rehman a month ago. Pakistan media reports suggest that it was lookalike (twin) brother of Hakimullah who conceded an interview to the BBC a few days ago.

Hakimullah was called from Afghanistan particularly to lead the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on a temporary basis while Taliban, under its leader Mullah Omar, decided on appointing new chief.

However, defence forces maintain that to save their image, the Taliban are giving impression that he is alive.

Last month, news of Baitullah Mehsud’s death dealt a big blow to the terror outfit’s image.

Hakimullah Mehsud was appointed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban to succeed Baitullah Mehsud after the latter was killed August 5 in a drone attack.

The security forces say the Taliban declared Hakimullah Mehsud as their new chief to prove their top leadership is still alive.

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