ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s Taliban said Thursday that it will not participate in peace talks with the country’s new government and will exact “revenge in the strongest way” after one of its top leaders was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike.
Confirming the death of Wali ur Rehman, the second-ranking leader of the militant group, the Taliban’s chief spokesman blamed Pakistan’s government for not doing more to prevent CIA-launched drone strikes on Pakistani soil.
“The government has failed to stop drone strikes, so we decided to end any talks with the government,” Ehsanullah Ehsan, the spokesman, said in a phone interview. “Our attacks in Pakistan will continue.”
U.S. officials had blamed Rehman, who was the chief deputy to Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, for a series of bloody cross-border attacks against U.S. and NATO personnel in Afghanistan, including a 2009 assault that killed seven Americans at a CIA facility.