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Mullah Radio: the New Leader of the Pakistani Taliban

on November 8, 2013

World

The Taliban commander who ordered last year’s attack on now-famous teenage schoolgirl and education advocate Malala Yousafzai has been chosen by the ruling council of the Pakistani Taliban as its new leader. Mullah Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio for his lengthy broadcasts across the Swat Valley during the Taliban’s rise in the area, will head the Pakistani militant franchise after his predecessor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike last Friday.

Fazlullah, who is about 39, has a fearsome reputation. Between 2007 and 2009, he became the Pakistani Taliban’s most notable militant leader after his radical group, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (Movement to Impose the Sharia of Mohammed), took over the Swat Valley, a picturesque corner of northwest Pakistan once famed as a tranquil honeymoon destination. The militants were eventually chased out by a Pakistani army offensive in May 2009.

Rising from humble origins — he used to operate a chairlift, near a…

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