ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The Taliban in Pakistan announced a new young leader Saturday to replace Baitullah Mehsud, who is believed to have been killed by a U.S. drone.
The announcement that Hakeemullah Mehsud would be the group's commander was made by Faquir Mohammed, who two days ago said he was now the top leader, the Dawn newspaper reported. Mohammed talked to reporters by telephone from an unknown location.
"I am stepping down as leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban in the larger interest of the movement," he said.
The Taliban has not acknowledged that Baitullah Mehsud is dead. But Pakistani officials say both Baitullah and Hakeemullah are dead, the younger man killed in a fight with a rival for the leadership.
Hakeemullah was once Baitullah's driver. The BBC said he is the military chief of the Taliban and believed to be as ruthless as Baitullah Mehsud.