Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Colombia's Path to Peace: Can historic deal with FARC rebels work? (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Colombia's Path to Peace: Can historic deal with FARC rebels work? (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

The rise of political tourism in the Middle East

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Video Music Awards, Rock en Seine and Puppa Lek Sen

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The Gulf of Porto, a paradise of land and sea

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Quarterback takes a stand by sitting down

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The hidden secrets of Les Invalides

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Anger over restaurant's decision to deny service to Muslim women

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Fed rate hints show Brexit 'not a shock' for US economy

Read more

Asia-pacific

Taliban chief still alive according to fellow commander, says BBC

Video by Gulliver CRAGG , Rachel MARUSAK

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-08

A Pakistani Taliban commander said his movement's leader, Baitullah Mehsud, survived a US drone missile attack, and described official Pakistani reports of his death as "ridiculous", according to the BBC Urdu service website.

Reuters - A fellow commander in the Pakistani Taliban insisted that Baitullah Mehsud, the movement’s leader, was alive, the BBC reported on Saturday, rejecting government claims he had been eliminated in a U.S. drone strike.

 

Hakimullah Mehsud, one of the most powerful commanders in the tribal region, described reports of Mehsud’s death as “ridiculous” and said it was “the handiwork of the intelligence agencies”, the BBC Urdu service website said.

 

Some analysts suspected that the Pakistani Taliban’s leadership was divided over who should become the next chief and that Hakimullah’s denial aimed to buy time until a new leader emerged.

 

Hakimullah, who controls fighters in the Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber tribal regions, is regarded as one of the leading contenders to replace Baitullah Mehsud.

 

There was no independent confirmation of his claim, the BBC said.

 

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday the government was sure Mehsud was killed in the attack on Wednesday that also killed his second wife, a brother, seven bodyguards and destroyed his car.

 

“It is pretty certain now that he is dead. Various government agencies have reported so, his own followers have said so, there are people who have been to the funeral and are witness to the burial,” Qureshi told BBC Radio.

 

A senior official who requested anonymity went further.

 

“It’s 100 percent certain now,” a senior member of the Pakistan government told Reuters, explaining that the intelligence services had obtained confirmation of Mehsud’s death from family members.

 

Qureshi anticipated the death of Mehsud would leave a void in the Taliban movement that could lead to divisions.

 

“With him gone, I think there is going to be an internal struggle and disarray in their ranks, I think it will set in demobilisation. It is a great success for the forces that are fighting extremism and terrorism in Pakistan,” Qureshi said.
 

Date created : 2009-08-08

COMMENT(S)