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Pakistani Taliban Elects New Leader, Rejects Peace Talks


FILE - A Pakistani journalist watches a newly released video of radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah in Peshawar, July 23, 2010.
The Pakistani Taliban has rejected peace talks with the Pakistani government after choosing a hard line cleric as its leader following the death of the previous leader in a drone strike.

Maulana Fazlullah, elected Thursday by the Taliban ruling council, had led the militant group's brutal rule in Pakistan's northwest Swat valley in 2008-2009 before a military operation retook the area.

The choice of Fazlullah has dampened hopes of any peace process between the Pakistani Taliban and the government of Pakistan.

Pakistani media report a spokesman for the Taliban said there would be no talks with the government.

Nicknamed Mullah Radio for his fiery Islamist radio broadcasts in the Swat valley, Fazlullah is considered hard line even within the Pakistani Taliban movement. His rise to leadership follows the killing of previous Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud earlier this month.

Pakistani intelligence believes Fazlullah has links to the attempt to kill school girl education activist Malala Yousafzai in Swat in October 2012, an attack that was claimed by Pakistani Taliban.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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