NEW: The Pakistan Taliban says they will focus attacks in Punjab province
The Pakistan Taliban choose Maulana Fazlullah as their new leader
He might be linked to the assassination attempt against Malala Yousafzai
He is believed to be ordering attacks from Afghanistan
The Pakistan Taliban has vowed to carry out revenge attacks on the national government after appointing a new leader following the death of their former chief in a U.S. drone strike.
The Pakistan Taliban elected Maulana Fazlullah, one of its longtime militia commanders, as their new leader, spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said Thursday.
Shaheen said that proposed peace talks with the government are now off the table.
Afghan President criticizes U.S. drone strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader
Fazlullah, the new leader, is yet to make his own public statement following his elevation.
Pakistani military sources said Fazlullah is believed to be in Afghanistan and is also believed to have been ordering attacks in Pakistan from there.
Swat, in northwestern Pakistan, was where militants shot and wounded teen activist Malala in October 2012 as she was riding home from school in a van.
Fazlullah is known as a hard-liner who broadcast fiery sermons and hard-line ideology via an extremist radio station, earning him the nickname “Mullah Radio.” The station was shut down when he was pushed out of Pakistan.
The group’s Central Shura Council picked Fazlullah, along with a new deputy leader, Sheikh Khalid Haqqani.
Pakistani Prime Minister: Drone strike won’t derail Taliban peace talks
The outgoing interim leader of the Pakistan Taliban, Asmatullah Shaheen, said Thursday that any discussions of talks with the Pakistani government are off the table.
There were never truly talks between the two sides, Shaheen said, and there never will be.
The Pakistan Taliban will focus their attacks on Punjab province, a stronghold of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shaheen said.
He blamed the Prime Minister for turning Pakistan into a “colony” of the United States and for the death of their former leader, Mehsud.
During a trip to Washington, the Prime Minister sold Pakistan out, Shaheen said.
“Instead of stopping the drone strikes, he struck a deal with the United States for our leader’s head,” he said.