PESHAWAR, Pakistan, June 20 – Pakistani authorities on Monday interrogated six Pakistani militant commanders, including the uncle and brother of former Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, after they surrendered to the military over the weekend, officials said.
The surrender of Hakimullah’s family may weaken the Pakistani Taliban’s insurgency which has raged since 2007.
The main force of the Pakistani Taliban has been led by Mullah Fazlullah since 2013, when Hakimullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike.
Hakimullah’s brother Ijaz and uncle Khair Mohammad had pledged allegiance to a splinter faction led by Khan Said, who was also reportedly killed by a drone attack in November.
The two men, and four other militants, were taken into custody after pledging to renounce violence, officials said.
“These six militant commanders of the Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan have surrendered to the military in the Kurram tribal region on Saturday night,” a senior security official in Kurram, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, told Reuters.
The men were taken to Dera Ismail Khan, a garrison town about 235 km (146 miles) south of Kurram, to be interrogated, a Peshawar-based military official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
An administrative official in Kurram also confirmed the surrender took place in Kurram, where hundreds of militants fled after a Pakistani military operation forced them out of their stronghold in North Waziristan in 2014.
“These militants from South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Afghanistan had been living in Kurram Agency for the past two years,” said Nazar Hussain, a Kurram resident.