Pakistani Taliban release video refuting rumors of leadership rift


hakeemullah-waliur-rahman-Dec2012.jpg

Waliur Rehman Mehsud (left) and Hakeemullah Mehsud (right), from their latest propaganda tape. Image from Dawn.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan released a videotape today that refutes the longstanding rumors of a split among the highest leadership of the organization. The group's emir, Hakeemullah Mehsud, also said that the Pakistani Taliban are allied with both the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda.

The Pakistani Taliban released the videotape to both Reuters and Dawn. In the video, Hakeemullah is seen seated alongside his deputy and the group's leader in South Waziristan, Waliur Rehman Mehsud.

"There is no divide in the Tehrik-e-Taliban [Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan]," Hakeemullah said. "I and Maulvi Waliur Rehman are one, and look, we are sitting together. The propaganda of a rift in Taliban ranks is totally untrue."

Hakeemullah also denied that he and Waliur Rehman are at odds over negotiations with the Pakistani government. Hakeemullah said that the Taliban have negotiated with the government in the past, and pointed to the Sararogha agreement that was signed by his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud. But Hakeemullah said that the Taliban would not lay down their arms as the government is being directed by the US; instead he said he would agree only to a ceasefire.

The Pakistani government has signed numerous peace agreements with the Taliban in the past, but has denied doing so. The peace agreements allowed the Taliban to take over large areas of Pakistan's northwest.

Hakeemullah's appearance with Waliur Rehman confirms multiple reports by The Long War Journal that the Pakistani government has conducted an information operation to portray the Pakistani Taliban as divided. The Pakistani government has wrongly claimed that the two leaders killed each other in a fight over the succession of Baitullah, and in the past year has said multiple times that Hakeemullah has been sidelined by Waliur Rehman [for details, see Threat Matrix report, Pakistani officials promoting false split in Taliban leadership cadres, again].

Pakistani Taliban "with" Afghan Taliban, al Qaeda

Hakeemullah said that the Pakistani Taliban would take direction from the Afghan Taliban and its emir, Mullah Mohammed Omar, on how to react to the US drawdown in Afghanistan. Additionally, he said the groups are closely allied.

"We are Afghan Taliban and Afghan Taliban are us," he said. "We are with them and al Qaeda. We are even willing to get our heads cut off for al Qaeda."



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani Taliban release video refuting rumors of leadership rift"

Posted by Hibeam at December 28, 2012 6:40 PM ET:

It is more effecient for us to blow your heads off. That will have to suffice.

Posted by mike merlo at December 28, 2012 8:02 PM ET:

while whats been posted is most likely certainly true that doesn't preclude the customary tribal animosities surfacing with regularity. Walir Rehman Meshud & Hakeemullah Mesgud are welcome to frame their relationship any way they fit. Fact of the matter remains that the longer they stay actively engaged in hostilities perceived as inimical to their interests tension & factionalism will continue to permeate their ranks. Economics will also continue to play a part in splintering the harmony the Meshud's profess to exists.

Posted by EDDIED. at December 28, 2012 8:28 PM ET:

Glad you are so willing to get your head cut off for Al-Qada, and, their insane beliefs because, when sane troops catch up to you like they did OSL. You will do that if you cowards don't have a woman to hide behind like OSL.

That might be the last photograph you will take that shows you intact, the next one will show you looking like your buddy Zaqqari.

Come on USA step it up!

Posted by Macs at December 28, 2012 9:53 PM ET:

"We are even willing to get our heads cut off for al Qaeda."

Sounds good to me!

Posted by KaneKaizer at December 29, 2012 2:12 AM ET:

Looks like a good target for a Hellfire. Shame.

Posted by Waziristan Weigh-Less Inc. at December 29, 2012 3:12 AM ET:

Looks like Hakeemullah has been packing on the weight needed for jihad, though, of course, his suicide bombers will no doubt frown at the type of weight he packs on compared to theirs.

Jihadist leaders really do 'embody' what they think of their expendable underlings.

More body fat = more bug splat.

Posted by Mike at December 29, 2012 7:40 AM ET:

Is it just me or has Hekamullah gained a ton of weight? hardly recognizable if it's the same face i'm thinking of.

Posted by steve m at December 29, 2012 12:33 PM ET:

Waliur looks nice and healthy, life must be good! Haki, not so much, I just can't tell if it is from too much good living or from living on the run.

Posted by Nic at December 29, 2012 2:28 PM ET:

"Hakeemullah's appearance with Waliur Rehman confirms multiple reports by The Long War Journal that the Pakistani government has conducted an information operation to portray the Pakistani Taliban as divided." Nothing crashes worse than a disinformation campaign. Pakistan just added a negative number to its already negative credibility rating.

Posted by Witch Doctor at December 29, 2012 11:56 PM ET:

Hopefully he will be loosing that weight soon when he gives up his head for A.Q.

Posted by mike merlo at December 29, 2012 11:58 PM ET:

@Waziristan Weigh-Less Inc. & Mike
the physical appearance that you've both identified is the look of a habitual user of opiates that is well feted.

Posted by yash at December 30, 2012 6:17 AM ET:

One should not take these guys seriously..they will change their words as it suits them.

In the aftermath of Mumbai attacks, the PAK ARMY held a press conference and declared that Baituallah Mehsud, Mullah Fazlullah and other Taliban are great Pakistanis and will assist PAK ARMY in their fight against India.....

Thanks,
Yash

Posted by ED at December 30, 2012 12:53 PM ET:

"We are even willing to get our heads cut off for al Qaeda."
OK PROVE IT.

Posted by Jakob Reith at January 6, 2013 4:44 AM ET:

Hakeemullah looks very unhealthy, he has gotten fat and besides he has black bags under the eyes.

The question is whether he was actually wounded in the drone attack January 12 2012, where he initially was reported dead. We do not see his legs on the photo - can he walk?