|Pakistan Taliban leader 'killed by CIA drone' surfaces on internet to threaten U.S.
Daily Mail | May 3, 2010
Two new videos from the Pakistani Taliban appear to show their leader
alive and refuting earlier American and Pakistani claims that he was killed
in a U.S. missile strike.
They underscore the patchy nature of intelligence gathering from the remote, isolated Pakistani tribal regions where Taliban, Al Qaeda and other militant groups have congregated.
In the clips, both apparently dated in April, Mehsud promises attacks
on major U.S. cities, but officials have played down any Taliban links
to the scare in Times Square.
Speaking in Pashto, but with English subtitles, Mehsud assures viewers he was not killed in a missile strike or any other way, referring to specific reports of his death as lies and propaganda.
"(Praised be to God), on the 4th day of April 2010, I give good news
to the Muslim (world) about being alive and healthy," Mehsud says in the
nearly nine-minute clip.
The map is not detailed enough to identify which cities.
A voice that sounds like Mehsud's says the tape was recorded on April 19. Speaking Urdu, he says the group's main targets from now on are U.S. cities, and that "good news will be heard within some days or weeks.'
U.S. and Pakistani officials had been confident until recently that a January missile strike had killed Mehsud somewhere along the border dividing South Waziristan and North Waziristan tribal regions.
The Taliban, however, had consistently denied that Mehsud was killed, but they refused to provide evidence that he was alive on grounds it would endanger his security.
Last week, four Pakistani intelligence officials said the spy networks had determined that Mehsud was alive after all after getting new information from electronic surveillance and reports from sources in the field, including from inside the Taliban.
One of them said Mehsud was believed to have been wounded in the attack but had largely recovered.
Another intelligence officials also said Mehsud was no longer the major
force in the Taliban movement, which has carried out scores of attacks
in Pakistan in recent years and is allied with Al Qaeda and militants in
Afghanistan fighting U.S. and Nato troops.
Neither official explained Mehsud's alleged loss of clout, but the militant network has been pummeled over the last six months by relentless U.S. missile attacks and Pakistan army offensives that have pushed it from once-secure bases along the border.
The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because the spy agencies do not allow their operatives to be named in the media.