Hakimullah Mesud is alive. The successor to Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in August 2009, apparently survived a tribal power struggle to succeed Baitullah.Wali-ur-Rehman also wanted Baitullah Mehsud's position, and he was also reported dead as the two feuded over the bosses' job. The bottom-line was, they were either dead or they were alive. Today, it appears we know that both men are alive.
This report out of Pakistan says the author and other reporters were granted a press conference with Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman yesterday.
Pakistan officials have stated several times that they thought Mehsud and Rehman were dead. "Western diplomats" echoed the opinion, including American officials.
Hakimullah was very much alive, speaking calmly as he sat under a tree on a blanket surrounded by top Taliban commanders, including Waliur Rehman, in a show of unity in South Waziristan, where the Pakistani state and security forces have little or no presence. Also present were Qari Hussain, the head of the Taliban's suicide bomb faction, and Azam Tariq, a Taliban spokesman.Here's a little insight into the life of a Taliban tribal leader:
He did not appear to be a nervous fugitive in hiding from Pakistan soldiers and U.S. drones.
His tunic was clean, white and freshly pressed, and his manner at ease as he spent more than seven hours chatting and eating with the reporters. Two goats were brought out for slaughter for lunch.
At one point, he pulled out a laptop to show his guests an Afghan comedian's standup routine about jihadi - or holy war - groups. On the serious side, he also showed pre-attack video testimony made by a suicide bomber.The article intimates that Hakimullah Mehsud may have been involved in the bombing of the U.S. office in Islamabad.
Funny thing. These two disappeared after a tribal meeting to pick a new leader to replace Baitullah Mehsud. Rumors were that they killed each other. So, that is not true. Maybe both have been out-of-sight, recovering from the wounds of their battle for power. Something isn't right here - but then, we know intelligence sucks.
Related and Background:
Hakimullah Mehsud Dead: Wali-ur-Rehman Dead - Successors Kill Each Other?
Baitullah Mehsud is Alive: Baitullah Mehsud is Dead