Pak to review ties with US, says killing of Hakimullah is murder of peace efforts

Hakimullah Mehsud

Pakistan will review its relationship with the United States in a high-level meeting on Sunday, the prime minister's office said, following the killing of the Pakistani Taliban leader in a US drone strike.

Hakimullah Mehsud, who had a $5 million US bounty on his head, was killed on Friday in the northwestern Pakistani militant stronghold of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.

The Pakistani Taliban have killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and members of the security forces in their bid to impose Islamist rule but the new government has been calling for peace talks.

The government denounced Mehsud's killing as a US bid to derail the talks and summoned the US ambassador on Saturday to complain.

"The murder of Hakimullah is the murder of all efforts at peace," said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, adding that the government still wanted to pursue talks.

Some politicians have demanded that US military supply lines into Afghanistan be blocked in response to the US attack.

Pakistan is the main route for supplies for US troops in landlocked Afghanistan, for everything from food and drinking water to fuel, and the closure of the routes could be a serious disruption as US and other Western forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Pakistani cooperation is also seen as vital in trying to bring peace to Afghanistan, in particular in nudging the Afghan Taliban, who are allied but separate from the Pakistani Taliban, into talks with the Kabul government.

Despite its anger, cash-strapped Pakistan depends to an extent on US support and the US, despite frustrations, is unlikely to ever make a complete break with its nuclear-armed ally.

Pak Taliban secretly bury leader, vow revenge bombings

Pakistan Taliban fighters secretly buried their leader on Saturday after he was killed by a US drone aircraft and quickly moved to replace him while vowing a wave of revenge suicide bombings.

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