Pak Taliban chief Mehsud is 'alive'

Pak Taliban chief Mehsud is 'alive'

Hakimullah Mehsud

The revelation contradicts initial confidence among US and Pakistani intelligence officials that the brash militant leader had been killed in a mid-January missile attack in the Waziristan stretch of the northwest tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

The Taliban consistently denied Mehsud was killed, but declined to offer evidence he was alive, saying it would compromise his safety. The latest independent investigations and reports from multiple sources in the field led Pakistani intelligence to conclude Mehsud had indeed survived, though with some slight injuries, the official said on condition of anonymity. But Mehsud’s power has lessened, and other commanders, such as Waliur Rehman, are overshadowing him, the official said.

The Pakistani Taliban have been under assault by army ground troops in their main stronghold, the South Waziristan tribal region, since October, and many of the network’s leaders are believed to have shifted to North Waziristan.

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