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Taliban claims responsibility for killing Taseer

Peshawar: A Pakistani Taliban faction linked to trainer of suicide bombers Qari Hussain on Thursday claimed responsibility for the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, saying that the "man who killed him was from among us."

"We claim responsibility for the killing of Salmaan Taseer. The Punjab Governor was our target and we have planned this programme and the man who killed him was from among us," Shakirullah Shakir, a spokesman for the fidayeen group associated with Qari Hussain, told PTI on phone from an undisclosed location.

The militants spokesman also held out threats that those who spoke against Islam would also be murdered.

Shakir claimed Taseer was killed for supporting Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, and for his remarks against the blasphemy law.

Malik Qadri, the Elite Force guard who gunned down Taseer on Tuesday, said he was angered by the Governor`s criticism of a controversial blasphemy law.

Qadri surrendered immediately after shooting Taseer.

Investigators are trying to determine if Qadri acted on his own or was part of a conspiracy.

A provincial minister had recently said that Qari Hussain, a Taliban commander from the Mehsud tribe who was known as the trainer of suicide bombers, was killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan in October.

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