World Bulletin/News Desk
The Pakistani government has decided to postpone a plan to send a three-member delegation to the Taliban leadership to officially invite them to take part in peace talks amid reports that the TTP leader was killed in a drone strike earlier Friday.
"The delegation has been informed about the postponement of the meeting for an indefinite period as there is no possibility of any peace initiative, at least in coming few weeks," a senior Interior Ministry official told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity.
He asserted that the three-member delegation had been supposed to meet the leadership of the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), an umbrella of local Taliban groups, on Saturday to invite them to attend peace talks.
Earlier Friday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a local TV channel that the three-member government delegation was scheduled to meet Taliban leaders in North Waziristan on Saturday.
The delay followed reports that TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud and two of his top lieutenants had been killed in a drone attack in North Waziristan earlier Friday.
"Mehsud's vehicle was targeted by a missile when he was coming to attend a meeting at a home in Dande Darpa Khel village, which later was pounded by three missile," an intelligence official told AA earlier.
He went on to assert that Mehsud, Pakistan's most wanted militant, was in the vehicle when it was struck.
The two other senior commanders killed with him were thought to be Tariq Mehsud and Abdullah Mehsud.
The intelligence official suggested that Latif Mehsud, a close confidante of Mehsud reportedly seized from Afghan custody by US forces last month, had helped the CIA locate the TTP chief.
A tribal leader in the area told AA by telephone that the targeted vehicle had belonged to the TTP chief.
Tribal sources say Mehsud had been moved to Miranshah Agency Hospital after the attack, but that he died before getting there. His body was reportedly badly charred.
The sources said that funeral prayers would be held on Saturday at an undisclosed location in North Waziristan.
A Taliban spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
"The security forces have been put on high alert to avert any possible backlash," the Interior Ministry official told AA.Last Mod: 02 Kasım 2013, 09:43