Last week, the United States
successfully targeted and killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the chief of the Taliban in Pakistan, in a drone strike in Waziristan.
Today, they named his replacement — Mullah Fazlullah — the ruthless warlord of a Taliban offshoot who is best known for ordering the assassination of Malala Yousafzai.
Malala, a 15-year-old outspoken critic of the Taliban’s tactics in her native Swat Valley in Pakistan, was shot in the head when a gunman boarded her school bus last year.
But she survived, made a full recovery, and has become a transformative figure for human rights and access to education.
That Fazlullah was picked to lead the Taliban may represent a couple of things. Just as Malala is a hero to those who would like to see reform in Pakistan, Fazlulla is a hero to the hardliners holding the region back.
It also, at least for now, kills any hopes of the peace talks Mehsud was trying to foster before his death.
A Taliban spokesman reportedly told the BBC that they will reject peace talks and vowed revenge for Mehsud’s death.
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