Pak Taliban not to prove leader alive

MIR ALI:The Pakistani Taliban today said there is no need to release proof that the group’s leader is alive to refute reports that he died from injuries sustained in a US drone strike in mid-January.

The comments by Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq - a reversal from remarks the day before - could fuel speculation that militant chief Hakimullah Mehsud has in fact died and that the group is stalling to give it time to determine a successor. A similar situation played out in August when Mehsud’s predecessor was killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan tribal area near the Afghan border. The Taliban denied his death for three weeks, only admitting it after Mehsud was chosen as his heir. “We don’t feel any need to release a video, but whenever we feel a need, we will do so,” Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told The Associated Press.

His comments came a day after an aide to Mehsud said the militant group would try to provide proof in a day or two that its leader was alive.