[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Pakistani Taliban leader 'alive'
Pakistan intelligence says Hakimullah Mehsud alive after reports of his death in January.
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2010 15:25 GMT

The Pakistani Taliban has been vague about
the fate of Hakimullah Mehsud [EPA]
 

Hakimullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader believed to have been killed in a US drone attack earlier this year, may still be alive, Pakistani intelligence officials have said.

Officials said Mehsud could have survived the reported fatal attack on the Taliban bastion of South Waziristan near the Afghan border with Pakistan in January.

"Initially, our intelligence in the field suggested that he was killed from the wounds he sustained in the strike, but we have made checks and our intelligence has now concluded that he was wounded, not dead. It is all based on intelligence," one official said.

No evidence was presented by Pakistani intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, but the comments are a blow for US intelligence.

Propaganda coup

Mehsud appeared in a video with a Jordanian double agent last year who later killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan on December 30.

in depth

  Pakistani Taliban says leader alive
  CIA attack 'revenge for Mehsud'
  Blog: Hakimullah Mehsud - dead or alive?
  Focus: Pakistan, another bloody year?
  Riz Khan: Is Pakistan heading towards civil war?
  Profile: Hakimullah Mehsud
  Profile: Pakistani Taliban

US drone attacks intensified following the deaths, but some analysts say the announcement on Thursday represents something of a gain for the Pakistani Taliban.

Rahimullah Yusufzai, an expert on Taliban and tribal affairs said: "This confusion goes in favour of the Taliban as it embarrasses the government.

"It shows that there is lack of real intelligence and there are still areas which are still not under the control of the government."

Taliban officials have also sent conflicting messages about the fate of Mehsud on different occasions.

Rehman Malik, the Pakistani interior minister, said in February that he had "credible information" that Mehsud was dead.

A Taliban official in February told journalists that Mehsud had died of his wounds while being taken to the city of Karachi. But Taliban main spokesman Azam Tariq denied that.

The al-Qaeda-backed Pakistani Taliban are waging a war against Pakistan's US-backed government.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
join our mailing list