This video grab taken on November 7, 2013, shows Asmatullah Shaheen (R) caretaker chief Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announcing the new leader of TTP during a press conference in an undisclosed location in northwest Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban appointed a hardline cleric linked to the attack on Malala Yousafzai as their new chief on November 7, throwing proposed peace talks with the government into serious doubt. Maulana Fazlullah, elected by the Taliban's supreme council, led the militants' brutal two-year rule in Pakistan's northwest valley of Swat in 2007-2009, before a military operation retook the area. AFP PHOTO/THIR KHANTHIR KHAN/AFP/Getty Images
New Taliban leader tried to kill Malala
01:54 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

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

CNN  — 

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.