US’ blacklisting of Pak Taliban ’suicide boss’ Qari Hussain shows he may still be alive

Saturday, January 22, 2011

LAHORE - The United States’ decision to blacklist Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Qari Hussain has cast serious doubts over an earlier claim made by its intelligence sleuths that he was killed in an October 7, 2010 drone strike in North Waziristan.

“The Secretary of State has designated Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Qari Hussain under E.O. 13224, which targets terrorists and their supporters. This action will help stem the flow of finances to Hussain by blocking all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Hussain has an interest and prohibiting all transactions by U.S. persons with Hussain,” the US Department of State said in a press release on Thursday.

“Qari Hussain is one of TTP’s top lieutenants and also serves as the trainer and organizer of the group’s suicide bombers… Widely considered to be the deadliest of all TTP’s commanders, Hussain and the TTP have taken responsibility for many lethal suicide bombings throughout Pakistan,” it added.

It is noteworthy that the State Department’s statement has used ‘present tense’ while framing charges against Hussain, hence giving credence to the possibility that the master trainer of suicide bombers may still be alive.

It was during Operation Zalzala in January 2008 that Hussain was first reported dead, when the Pakistani military destroyed his house in Waziristan and announced that he had been killed, The News reported, adding that the TTP commander reappeared a couple of months later.

Hussain was again reported to be killed in June 2009, when a suspected drone attack targeted a compound near Makeen in South Waziristan. But he reappeared again along with Commander Hakimullah Mehsud and Commander Waliur Rehman in October 2009, causing embarrassment for both the US as well as Pakistani authorities.

The latest claim about his death came from US intelligence agencies that said Hussain was killed in a drone attack on a house in the Mirali town of North Waziristan on October 7, 2010, along with eight foreigners including some Germans.

The Pakistani authorities endorsed the American claim a couple of days later, stating that Hussain was severely injured in the attack and taken to Miramshah, where he died after doctors amputated one of his legs.

However, TTP spokesman Azam Tariq instantly refuted the reports about Hussain’s death, saying: “Qari Hussain is alive and healthy and will soon contact the media. The infidels and their agents are spreading disinformation to demoralise Taliban.”

But almost three and a half-months after the American claim that Hussain had died, none other than the US State Department placed his name under its Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and their supporters, and thus indicating that their claims about his death were faulty. (ANI)

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