Pakistani intelligence officials say the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, may have been killed during a recent drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal region.
According to a report by the WSJ, the claim that the Pakistani Taliban chief was killed came after the intelligence officials say they intercepted radio chatter between Taliban fighters detailing how Mehsud was taken out while traveling in a convoy near the Afghan border on Jan. 12.
While Pakistan couldn’t officially confirm Mehsud’s death and the Taliban have since denied reports of their leader’s demise, the National Journal points out that the denial was not as strong as the one issued in 2010, following false reports of Hakimullah’s death.
“There is no truth in reports about his death. However, he is a human being and can die any time. He is a holy warrior and we will wish him martyrdom,” Ihsanullah Ihsan, a spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, is quoted as saying by UPI.
Ihsan added that regardless of whether or not Hakimullah Mehsud was dead, jihad would continue.
“There are so many lions in this jungle and one lion will replace another one to continue this noble mission,” the TTP spokesman said.
If Mehsud’s death is confirmed, it will be a major victory for the Obama administration, which has said it is on the way to eliminate the Al Qaeda terrorist network following the assassination of its leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan last year.
via Hindustan Times