The Death of Colonel Imam

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Context

According to media reports Colonel Imam who was also known as the father of Taliban has been killed by his captors. On the other hand, some reports have claimed he died of a heart attack while in captivity. Colonel Imam was abducted along with Khalid Khwaja and a British journalist last March, when they were heading to North Waziristan. Khwaja was shot dead last April while the British journalist Asad Qureshi was released after a payment of ransom. A little known group Asian Tigers have claimed responsibility for the initial abduction.

The death of Colonel Imam has raised some important questions regarding who controls North Waziristan, where he and others were abducted. Afghan Taliban carried sympathies for Colonel Imam and had been making efforts for his release.

The event could lead to internal strife between Afghan Taliban, Punjabi Taliban, and Pakistani Taliban (TTP). This would not be a terrible outcome from NATO’s and American point of view. Furthermore, if there is infighting; the need for a North Waziristan operation becomes moot. However, this could also suggest more disarray in FATA, as no one party appears to be in control of the situation there. In the coming days, it would be interesting to see if Al Qaeda linked Ilyas Kashmiri had anything to do with the assassinations of two former ISI officials.

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