Pakistani Taliban chief laid to rest
Killed in the same raid, Mehsud's uncle, driver and other close aides were also buried today but at different places in the restive region, which has long been home to Pakistani, Afghan, Chechen and Arab fighters.
Carrying a $5 million US bounty on his head, the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief was killed along with his driver and personal bodyguard in the latest strike that Islamabad instantly denounced as an attempt at derailing talks with the rebel movement.
Waziristan-based fighters told local media outlets the TTP Central Advisory Committee would meet soon to appoint Mehsud's successor. Umar Khalid, Maulana Fazlullah and Khan Said are tipped for the slot.
Having escaped unhurt in at least two drone strikes in the past, he had succeeded his mentor Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a similar air raid in August 2009.
Tribal administration and intelligence sources said the remotely-piloted aircraft fired a couple of missiles at a Taliban compound in the Dande Darpakhel area near Miranshah -- the agency headquarters.
Mehsud -- in his mid-30s -- was struck while coming out of a meeting, one local official said.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan alleged such attacks were aimed to sabotage efforts for bringing peace to the country. "A delegation was about to be sent to talk to the Taliban tomorrow," he said. "We expect formal dialogue with Taliban will take place very soon."
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