Report: Taliban leader Mehsud is alive

April 29, 2010 at 7:53 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 29 (UPI) -- Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, earlier reported killed in a U.S. drone attack, is alive, a Pakistani spy agency official told Britain's Guardian.

Mehsud survived the attack and is alive and well, the newspaper reported Wednesday, quoting a senior official with the Inter Services Intelligence agency.

Until now, Mehsud was believed to have died in January in the drone attack by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area.

But the Guardian report said while Mehsud's death was claimed by Pakistan's interior minister, it was never confirmed by the United States and Pakistani agencies.

"He is alive. He had some wounds but he is basically OK," the spy agency official was quoted as saying.

CNN, quoting both a Pakistani intelligence official and a senior Pakistani military official, also reported Mehsud is alive and was seen recently in North Waziristan.

The report said Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq always denied that Mehsud had been killed.

The CIA. has stepped up its drone strikes since an al-Qaida operative killed seven of the agency's employees in December at a base in southern Afghanistan. Mehsud had appeared in a video with the al-Qaida operative.

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