Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud is alive, says spy agency

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ajtr, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud is alive, says spy agency


    Exclusive: Setback for CIA after Pakistan intelligence official admits drone attack failed to kill the Pakistan Taliban commander

    The Taliban leader in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud, survived an American drone strike in January and is alive and well, a senior official with Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency told the Guardian today.

    Mehsud was reported to have died in a CIA drone strike in South Waziristan in January but, although Pakistan's interior minister claimed he had been killed, the death was never confirmed by either US or Pakistani intelligence.

    Today the senior intelligence official said he had seen video footage of the missile attack on Mehsud but other intelligence had since confirmed the insurgent leader survived. He declined to elaborate further.

    "He is alive," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He had some wounds but he is basically OK."

    Mehsud's apparent survival will be a blow to the CIA, which intensified efforts to kill the flamboyant young Taliban leader early this year after he appeared in a video alongside an al-Qaida operative who killed seven American spies at a base in southern Afghanistan in late December.

    The failed attack on Mehsud came at the start of an unprecedented onslaught by CIA-controlled unmanned aircraft in the tribal belt. The CIA has carried out 38 attacks so far this year, the official said, compared with 49 in the whole of 2009.

    "The US government is under pressure because it is unable to achieve much in Afghanistan. This is one way of hitting their al-Qaida enemies, as they define them," the official said.

    Drone strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan because of civilian casualties. The New America Foundation recently reported that between January 2009 and March 2010 the drones killed 690 alleged insurgents and 181 innocent villagers. CIA figures put the civilian tally for the same period at 20.

    The Pakistani official estimated the civilian toll was "between the two figures" but insisted that targeting had improved. "For the Americans, this is an effective way of doing things from a distance with little collateral damage. I give full credit to the CIA for this."

    The Washington Post reported this week that the CIA has started using more compact drones and smaller missiles in an effort to reduce civilian casualties.

    The intelligence official denied reports that the Taliban deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, had been captured in Karachi last January "by accident".

    US intelligence pinpointed Baradar in a housing estate in a well-to-do part of Karachi, he said, but the raid to capture him was entirely Pakistani. "There was no American around," he said.

    Baradar was being jointly interrogated by CIA and ISI agents and had yielded useful information, he said. For example, he claimed to have last met the Taliban leader in Afghanistan, Mullah Muhammad Omar, two years ago.

    He also rejected claims that Pakistan had captured Baradar to scupper nascent Afghan peace talks, saying that Baradar had disdained President Hamid Karzai as "not even a real Pashtun".

    In March, Kai Eide, the UN's former special representative to Afghanistan said he believed Pakistan wanted to prevent talks between the UN, the Afghan government and the Taliban, to retain control of the process.

    The senior official said the ISI would be "very, very willing" to play a role in negotiations with the Taliban, but only if called upon by both the Afghan and US governments. For now, he said, Pakistan's spies are "sitting on the sidelines, watching".

    "There are a number of different efforts and nobody knows what anyone else is doing. It's a very fragmented effort." He added that "if it's meant to confuse the Taliban, it's working".

    One stumbling block, he said, was the clashing policies of Britain and the US. "The British are more amenable to negotiations and talking," he said. "The Americans are attempting to create conditions where the Taliban will be forced to come to the table. In my opinion they will never achieve that."

    A western diplomat in Islamabad said British officials were more inclined to talks than their US couterparts, but said policy had not been fixed in either country because "otherwise things would be happening".

    The ISI official denied his agency retains close ties with Jalaluddin Haqqani, an al-Qaida-linked warlord whom America blames for recent mayhem in Afghanistan, including a suicide attack on the Indian embassy.

    He admitted the agency had once been close to Haqqani but insisted that recent US allegations came from people who "lived in the past". He regretted that Pakistan had broken its links with the warlord because "otherwise, resolution of the problems in Afghanistan today would be so much easier for all of us".

    The ISI was heavily criticised in a recent United Nations report into the death of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. The official described the report as a "sub-standard work with a clear agenda".

    He said: "In the report, statements are made and inferences drawn on condition of anonymity and hearsay. Who in God's name does that?"

    Charmed life

    Hakimullah Mehsud's apparent survival represents a second miraculous escape in the career of a youthful, ruthless militant leader.

    The Pakistani government previously reported that the flamboyant tribesman, thought to be about 30 years old, was killed during a leadership struggle last August.

    Despite his remarkable good fortune, however, Hakimullah's days as a Taliban leader may be numbered. According to a senior ISI official, his Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan organisation has been weakened by a sweeping army assault on its South Waziristan stronghold.

    Mehsud's leadership has been challenged by other figures, too, including his rival Wali-ur-Rehman. "He may not be in the leadership position," the intelligence official said. "His rise was accidental. He was mister nobody, people found it difficult to accept him."

    Mehsud rose to militant fame on the back of his ambition and showy cruelty. He sprang to prominence in 2007 with the humiliating kidnapping of over 200 Pakistani soldiers in South Waziristan.

    A year later, he led dozens of ambushes on Nato supply convoys as they passed through the Khyber Pass; in one instance he invited reporters to film him at the wheel of a looted American Humvee.

    Hakimullah became Taliban leader in August after a CIA drone killed the Tehrik-i-Taliban founder, Baitullah Mehsud. He also became known for cruelty. In Orakzai tribal agency, which was under his sway, Taliban fighters preyed on minority Sikhs and carried out bloody sectarian attacks on Shias.

    Whatever Mehsud's fate, the Taliban remain a potent force. Yesterday, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a checkpoint on the outskirts of Peshawar, killing five policemen. In North Waziristan, a clash at a checkpoint left four militants dead and injured one soldier.
     
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  3. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    this dubious SoB seems to be made of steel, this line shows he was indeed targeted by drone & as far as i know most of the time drones operate in a group of two or more & for a high value target they will certainly send at least two drones with enough missiles to ensure that the 'kill is confirmed', even if he survived he's got to be in a pretty bad shape, not just 'OK'
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Well mistakes does happens.It was same in case of Illiyas kashmiri too.First they confiremed him killed and then after 3-4 months he resurfaced.There is anothere case of leader of Abu Sayyaf Albader Parad and Abdul Basit Usman who also resurfaced after being confirmed killed in waziristan.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  5. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    mistakes are done by everyone not just US :D

    they are talking about the video, it seems pure luck to me,

    surviving a volley of Hell Fires

    this idiot is a lucky one, extremely lucky
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  6. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pakistan is a real coocko land any one can be dead and live at any point of time the problem is Pakistani agencies have no trust of local population because they are busy in killing them selectively or involved in aristocracy against them also as a foreign power is killing them with the nod of there own agencies. I seriously don't know why they need a foreign nation to do there job and that too inside there territory.
     
  7. tharikiran

    tharikiran Regular Member

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    I dont understand this, they say he is dead. Then they say he is alive.

    What is this all about. keep the flow of American funds and weapons ?

    I just don't get it.How long.
     
  8. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    It doesn't matter if Hakimullah is dead or not. We know who are the leaders and who all are in line of succession. These guys will not be eliminated by killing their "figurehead". Their leadership is diffused and they operate in cliques.

    This news only hints at the fact that some Pak establishment guys are helping the TTP guys. Which for a fact we know is true.

    So nothing new in this particular report.
     
  9. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    TTP movement is similar to the maratha sardars movement
     
  10. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    Hakeem Ullah is a 'common target' because the Jordanian Triple who blew himself killing like 20 CIA agents was seen with him in a video, this is the reason why he was targeted, he acted foolishly by appearing by the side of Jordanian Triple Agent even if if PA fails to get him Americans Assassins in the sky will kill him sooner or later, his case is different from BM, his removal will be good for both US & Pakistan

    [​IMG]

    CIA bomber calls for attacks on U.S. in video


    the lucky bastard survived a volley of Hell fires, damn, But i am sure he's seriously injured


    @ Singh:

    there is no point for Pak to help TTP, may be Hekmatyar Group(which had talks with Afghan Gov & even Indians want to use them) but not TTP
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  11. Soham

    Soham DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    He is a pawn. So is his agency in the hands of Afghan taliban and Al-Qaeda. He has sworn allegiance to both Mullah Omar and Bin-Laden. These are the two men who need to be eliminated to make any significant difference.

    All others are replaceable without grief.
     
  12. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    WASHINGTON: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is no longer being run by Hakeemullah Mehsud, who Pakistani intelligence officials now believe survived a CIA drone aircraft strike in January, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

    “I certainly have seen no evidence that the person you speak of (Mehsud) is operational today or is executing or exerting authority over the Pakistani Taliban as he once did. So I don’t know if that reflects him being alive or dead, but he clearly is not running the Pakistani Taliban anymore,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told a news conference.

    Pakistan and US intelligence reported the death of the head of the Pakistani Taliban in a CIA drone strike, but recent reports reveal that he may have survived the attack.

    The reports of Hakeemullah’s survival will raise questions about the quality of the intelligence being gathered in the region.

    The Taliban on their part always claimed Hakeemullah was alive.

    They said they were not going to offer any evidence of his survival because doing so could help security forces hunt him down. agencies
     
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The new, new face of the Pakistani Taliban?


    As news reports emerge that Wali ur-Rehman is now leading Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan operations in Waziristan, Mansur Khan Mahsud briefly looks at his history.

    Wali ur-Rehman, around 40 years old and the son of Asmatullah, is from a middle-class family in the Mal Khel branch of the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan. His family lives in Miram Shah, but he moves around Waziristan quite a bit; he is currently believed to reside in the Momi Karam area, and studied in the Jamia Islamia Imdadia madrassa in Faisalabad. After graduating in 1996, he returned to South Waziristan to teach in a madrassa in Kani Guram. Before joining the Taliban movement in 2004, Wali ur-Rehman was affiliated with the Islamist political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), with which he still maintains contacts.[ii]

    Wali ur-Rehman is reputed to be humble, cool-minded, intelligent, and polite. Despite earlier disagreements over the TTP's line of succession, he was believed to be a close ally of the fiery Hakimullah Mehsud and currently serves as chief of the TTP in South Waziristan, as well as the organization's primary military strategist. In 2007 he was given responsibility for looking after the movement's financial matters. Wali ur-Rehman has also participated in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO forces, and against Pakistani security forces in 2005 and 2008. His brother, Qareeb-ur-Rehman, was killed by Pakistani forces when the militants attacked the Splitoi fort in South Waziristan in July 2008.[iii]

    After TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud's death in August of 2009, his onetime personal driver and spokesman Hakimullah Mehsud was a top contender for the TTP leadership, along with Qari Hussain, Wali ur-Rehman Mehsud, Noor Saeed, Maulvi Azmatullah Mehsud, and Rais Khan Mehsud alias Azam Tariq. Intervention by Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the legendary Afghan mujahideen fighter Jalaluddin Haqqani, apparently prevented an armed confrontation between the various factions of would-be Taliban chiefs, telling them they "must follow the path of a great leader ... [and] save your bullets for your true enemies."[iv] Hakimullah and Wali ur-Rehman also sought to avoid violent conflict, aware that it could splinter the entire movement, not just in South Waziristan but across the FATA and NWFP. Wali ur-Rehman is believed to have had knowledge of the impending Pakistani military operations across the tribal regions and thus wanted to avoid disunity within the TTP.[v]

    The top three candidates for amir of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan -- Hakimullah Mehsud, Qari Hussain, and Azam Tariq -- belonged to the Bahlolzai branch of the Mehsud tribe, whereas Wali ur-Rehman Mehsud, Maulvi Azmatullah Mehsud, and Noor Saeed came from the Manzais, which historically had been at the forefront of power politics in Mehsud territory.[vi] Furthermore, the Mehsud Taliban in South Waziristan reportedly favored the accession of Wali ur-Rehman because he had been a deputy of Baitullah.

    After several weeks of reported infighting and deliberations during the late summer of 2009,[vii] however, the Manzai finally lost to the Bahlolzai in the succession battle, as Hakimullah's support included not only the Bahlolzais, but also Taliban fighters in the tribal agencies of Khyber, Bajaur, Kurram, and Orakzai. During these tense weeks, there were reports that Hakimullah was killed in conflict with Wali ur-Rehman,[viii] but the militant group's leadership later invited local journalists to South Waziristan and put on a show of unity by sitting side by side.[ix] After Hakimullah sidelined the rest of the contenders, the 40-member Taliban shura was left with no option but to choose him as head of the TTP. As a consolation, Wali ur-Rehman was made the head of Mehsud Taliban in South Waziristan, where he commands some 7,000 to 10,000 men.[x]

    According to local sources, Hakimullah, Hussain, and Azam Tariq consolidated power over the Mehsud Taliban based in South Waziristan, and are now fighting against the Pakistani army and international forces in Afghanistan. Taliban sources in South Waziristan also have said Hakimullah shifted his family to Miram Shah, in North Waziristan, where they are supported by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the current head of the Taliban in North Waziristan. Wali ur-Rehman is reported to be living there with his family as well.[xi]

    Sailab Mehsud, a South Waziristan correspondent for the FATA Research Center, assesses that tension between Hakimullah and Wali ur-Rehman had been on the rise because Wali ur-Rehman wanted to end the TTP's war with the Pakistani government, saying it has destroyed the Mehsud tribe. At one point, Wali ur-Rehman was reportedly in secret negotiations with elements of the Pakistani government in Peshawar or Khyber, but Hakimullah and Qari Hussain wanted to carry on fighting the Pakistani military.[xii]

    Mansur Khan Mahsud is the research coordinator for the FATA Research Center, an Islamabad-based think tank. He is from the Mahsud tribe of South Waziristan and has worked with several NGOs and news outlets as a researcher. He holds a masters degree in Pakistan studies from the University of Peshawar. This is excerpted from a longer research paper on militancy in South Waziristan, and is part of the New America Foundation's "Battle for Pakistan" series.
     
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Who is Hakimullah?
    BY MANSUR KHAN MAHSUD Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 12:10 PM Share

    With the news yesterday that Hakimullah Mehsud, the second chief of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, may be alive after months of reporting suggesting he had been killed in a drone strike in January, Mansur Khan Mahsud profiles the militant leader.

    The most recent chief of the TTP, Hakimullah Mehsud, was around 30 and of the Woji Khel clan of the Ishangi branch of the Mehsud tribe. He was the son of Abdullah Din Mehsud, and had at least four brothers-two of whom, Ijaz and Kalimullah, died while fighting Pakistani forces in South Waziristan in 2008-and four sisters. Hakimullah was originally from the Kotkai area, in the Spinkai Raghzai region in South Waziristan. The TTP leader had two wives, one from his natal Ishangi tribe and one from the Afridi tribe in Orakzai.

    Hakimullah received his early education from age 5 at the madrassa of Dar-ul Aloom Sharia in the Sarwakai tehsil (or administrative subdivision) of South Waziristan. He also passed his middle school exams in Kotkai. However, he left his religious education incomplete as he joined the local Taliban organization in South Waziristan in the fall of 2003, then went to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan, where he spent approximately four months. Hakimullah's first combat experience was under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud in Afghanistan; the two were extremely close, and Hakimullah served as Baitullah's official spokesman for a time in 2006. Along with Maulana Sangeen, a Taliban commander in Afghanistan's Paktika province with links with Sirajuddin Haqqani's militant network, he was part of a force that attacked the Masha Kund military check post in Khost province in 2004. During his time in Afghanistan, Hakimullah also spent many weeks fighting coalition forces in the southern province of Helmand in the district of Sangeen, on the border with Kandahar. He is believed to have been involved in recent cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, and has targeted NATO convoys and hundreds of trucks taking supplies there. In a December 2008 attack orchestrated by Hakimullah, dozens of Humvees were burned near Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province.[ii]

    After his return from Afghanistan in early 2004, Hakimullah turned his attention to the Pakistani forces in the Kalosha area of Wana, where the army had recently launched an operation against Nek Muhammad, then head of the Taliban in South Waziristan. Hakimullah also fought against Pakistani forces in 2006 and again in 2008, when the army launched operations against the local Taliban movements. Hakimullah was by then a commander, leading between 100 and 150 Mehsud Taliban fighters. Both times the Pakistani army was forced to sign peace treaties with the Taliban militants. Hakimullah also provided shelter and bases for members of al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban in South Waziristan, and is said to be still doing so.[iii]

    Hakimullah was 23 when he joined the South Waziristan Taliban; within a year and a half the group was fully organized in the agency.[iv] The TTP shura first made him head of the Mehsud Taliban in the Kurram agency, then added Orakzai and Khyber agencies to his portfolio. Hakimullah, a very active leader and the only one to be in charge of three agencies at once, strengthened the TTP in these areas while they were under his control. The militant chief also headed up the Mehsud Taliban in Mohmand and Bajaur agencies for a short time, but had to focus on building the Taliban in Kurram, Orakzai, and Khyber.

    Hakimullah, who hated Shiites and considered them heretics, also had close links with the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a pro-Taliban, anti-Shiite militant organization. As the head of the Taliban in Kurram, he fought against the Shiites and took part in sectarian clashes in Hangu district in early 2007.[v]

    Temperamentally, Hakimullah was a hothead-he angered very easily, did not tolerate opposition, and was reputed to be arrogant and prone to emotional outbursts. He was rumored to have shot several men, including some in the Taliban, who disagreed with his orders.[vi] He was also more media-friendly than his predecessor Baitullah, and appeared in several videos and audiotapes released to the public, including a video with the Jordanian suicide bomber who attacked a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, on December 30, 2009.[vii]

    Hakimullah's ascension to the TTP's leadership came at a time when the umbrella group had lost support from local tribes across South Waziristan and the rest of the FATA, having been weakened by Pakistani military operations. This makes it unlikely that the TTP will be able to open more fronts against the Pakistani government in the near future. The organization may also be reluctant to attack local Mehsud Taliban opponents, for fear of starting "blood feuds" among area tribes.

    The Khost attack may have been a turning point, however. Hakimullah asserted responsibility for the suicide bombing, in which seven CIA officers and a Jordanian intelligence agent were killed and others were injured.[viii] The TTP released a video of Hakimullah and the bomber, Humam al-Balawi, sitting side-by-side, and al-Balawi claimed the strike was to avenge the death of Baitullah Mehsud in an August 2009 drone attack; some of these drones are reportedly controlled by CIA teams in Khost.[ix]

    In the following weeks, an unprecedented number of drone-fired missiles slammed into various locations in North Waziristan, one of which reportedly injured Hakimullah. U.S. and other officials say they are almost certain he succumbed to his wounds, but the TTP continues to issue denials.[x] Hakimullah put out audiotapes on January 16 and 17 in a bid to quell rumors of his death, but has not been heard from since.[xi] Despite the Taliban's denials, he is generally believed to have died since then.

    Mansur Khan Mahsud is the research coordinator for the FATA Research Center, an Islamabad-based think tank. He is from the Mahsud tribe of South Waziristan and has worked with several NGOs and news outlets as a researcher. He holds a masters degree in Pakistan studies from the University of Peshawar. This is excerpted from a longer research paper on militancy in South Waziristan, and is part of the New America Foundation's "Battle for Pakistan" series.
     

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