Pakistani Taleban reject peace talks after electing hardline new leader

In this photograph taken on July 23, 2010, a Pakistani journalist watches a newly released video of radical Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlullah in Peshawar. The Pakistani Taleban on November 7, 2013, elected Maulana Fazlullah as their new chief follow
In this photograph taken on July 23, 2010, a Pakistani journalist watches a newly released video of radical Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlullah in Peshawar. The Pakistani Taleban on November 7, 2013, elected Maulana Fazlullah as their new chief following the death of the previous leader in a US drone strike. Fazlullah led the Taleban's brutal two-year rule in Pakistan's north-west Swat Valley in 2007-2009 before a military operation retook the area. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taleban rejected the idea of any further peace talks with the government on Thursday after electing hardline commander Mullah Fazlullah as their new leader, a Taleban spokesman said.

"There will be no more talks as Mullah Fazlullah is already against negotiations with the Pakistan government," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said.

The Pakistani Taleban elected Mullah Fazlullah, the commander whose men shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai last year, as their new leader on Wednesday, dampening expectations of any peace deal between the insurgents and the government.

The election of Fazlullah, known for his hardline Islamist views and rejection of peace talks, follows the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, the previous leader or ameer, in a United States drone strike last week.

"Following proper consultations... we chose our senior commander Mullah Fazlullah as our new ameer," said Pakistani Taleban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.

He told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location in neighbouring Afghanistan that the decision was taken after a shura council meeting by senior Taleban figures.

Nicknamed Mullah Radio for his fiery Islamist radio broadcasts in Swat valley, Fazlullah is considered hardline even within the Pakistani Taleban movement itself.

The Pakistan government in 2009 launched a military operation and expelled his fighters from the Swat valley, where he had been chief Taleban commander. He fled across the border to Afghanistan and is now believed to be in Nuristan province.

His men shot and wounded Malala last year because of her campaign to promote education among women in Swat, one of Pakistan's most conservative areas.