Hakimullah Mehsud is alive

May 3, 2010 at 12:29 PM

WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- The leader of the Pakistani Taliban movement appeared in two April messages, confirming reports he survived drone attacks, an intelligence report said.

Anonymous Pakistani intelligence officials told London's Guardian newspaper Wednesday that Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud survived a January airstrike.

"He is alive," said the official. "He had some wounds but he is basically OK."

The Long War Journal, an Internet publication monitoring the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, said it received two tapes from the Pakistani Taliban dated in April featuring Mehsud.

A videotape dated April 4 is the first evidence showing the Taliban leader alive. He last issued an audiotape Jan. 16, two days after intelligence officials said he was killed in a CIA airstrike in Pakistan.

He was reported dead on two separate occasions.

In the audiotape, delivered to the Journal and dated April 14, Mehsud says his fighters were deployed to the United States to carry out major attacks.

"Inshallah very soon in some days or a month's time, the Muslim ummah will see the fruits of most successful attacks of our fedayeen in U.S.A.," he said.

The Pakistani Taliban during the weekend took responsibility for the failed truck-bombing of Times Square in New York, although local authorities discounted the claim. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the bomb as "amateurish."

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