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Pakistan welcomes ouster of Taliban deputy
Pakistani minister says firing of Taliban deputy a sign of government success
By The Associated Press

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) ' A top official in Pakistan's restive northwest says the Pakistani Taliban's firing of its deputy leader shows the success of government operations against the militant network.

The Taliban announced over the weekend that it had sacked Maulvi Faqir Mohammad for allegedly holding peace talks with the government.

The move is seen as reflecting long-standing tensions between Mohammad and Taliban chief Hakimullah Mahsud.

The northwest's provincial information minister Tuesday denied any talks had been held, but said the announcement "clearly shows the differences among Taliban ranks."

Mian Iftikhar Hussain says the dispute resulted in part from the pressure that army operations are placing on the militant movement.

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