Hakimullah Mehsud appointed head of Pakistani Taliban

 
Hakimullah MehsudTalking to BBC from an unknown location, acting TTP head Moulvi Faqir Muhammad categorically refuted reports that Baitullah Mehsud had been killed in a US drone attack last week.

He, however, admitted that Mehsud was ailing and was, therefore, keeping a low profile.

Muhammad also said that Baitullah Mehsud had wanted to name his successor during his lifetime and the tribal meeting was called to ratify his decision.

US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said last week Baitullah Mehsud's elimination was a "very big deal" in terms of security efforts in Pakistan.

"The end of Baitullah Mehsud, as we all know, is a very big deal," he said Aug 12, citing reports of "disarray among his people, of other factions manoeuvring" following the apparent death of the Taliban leader.

The Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of around 13 militant groups, is blamed for a wave of bomb and suicide attacks across Pakistan, including the one that killed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.

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