‘I am alive’ – Hakeemullah Mehsud

Balawi-Hakeemullah.JPG

Hakeemullah Mehsud (left), the Leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi (right), the suicide bomber who carried out the attack at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, that killed seven CIA operatives and a Jordanian intelligence official.

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban released another audiotape denying that he was killed in Thursday’s airstrike along the border between North and South Waziristan.

“Today, on the 16th of January, I am saying it again — I am alive, I am OK, I am not injured… when the drone strike took place, I was not present in the area at that time,” Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said in a recorded statement that was played for reporters. Hakeemullah provided a specific date to confirm he was alive.

“After the audio I released yesterday, some people speculated and said that I did not mention the date,” Hakeemullah said. “This is propaganda of the kafirs (unbelievers). They want to weaken us through this propaganda.”

Pakistani intelligence officials were insisting Hakeemullah was killed in the US strike on a training camp that killed up to 15 terrorists, including two Arabs and several Uzbeks. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal on Friday said they believed he was alive.

The Taliban commander threatened to conduct more strikes inside Pakistan if the US air campaign was not halted.

“If the drone attacks continue, the TTP [Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan] will not be responsible for any dangerous steps in future — the government of Pakistan will be responsible,” Hakeemullah threatened.

Hakeemullah has been responsible for the wave of suicide attacks and conventional assaults against civilian and military targets throughout Pakistan and in Pakistan-held Kashmir that began on Oct. 5, 2009.

The US air campaign has been stepped up since Hakeemullah aided the Dec. 30, 2009, suicide attack by a Jordanian al Qaeda operative at Combat Outpost Chapman in Afghanistan’s Khost province. The bomber killed seven CIA officials, including the station chief, and a Jordanian intelligence officer.

Since Dec. 8, 2009, the air campaign in Pakistan has killed two senior al Qaeda leaders, a senior Taliban commander, two senior al Qaeda operatives, and a wanted Palestinian terrorist who was allied with al Qaeda.

Already this year, the US has killed Mansur al Shami, an al Qaeda ideologue and aide to al Qaeda’s leader in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu Yazid; and Haji Omar Khan, a senior Taliban leader in North Waziristan. Also, Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim, the Abu Nidal Organization operative who participated in killing 22 hostages during the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am flight 73, is thought to have been killed in the Jan. 9 airstrike.

In December 2009, the US killed Abdullah Said al Libi, the top commander of the Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda’s Shadow Army; Zuhaib al Zahib, a senior commander in the Lashkar al Zil; and Saleh al Somali, the leader of al Qaeda’s external network [see LWJ report, “Senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2010” for the full list].

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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9 Comments

  • BaitullahsDirtNap says:

    Hakee we only have to be lucky once; you on the other hand, have to be lucky all the time.

  • Peacock says:

    Hi Bill,
    first, thank you for effort in providing this resource. Have you heard any information on the reports (cited online at thaindian.com) that Qari Hussain was killed in the recent airstrike in Shaktoi?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I haven’t heard any credible reports about Qari Hussain taking the dirt nap. I know several people who’d like to see he offed ahead of Hakeemullah; if they even remotely thought he was dead I’d have been warned.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    Odd. If Hakeemullah truly wanted to prove he was alive and well he would show his face in a blank room. Two audiotapes? Something tells me he doesn’t want us to see him. It’s still possible he was badly injured.

  • Rhyno327 says:

    Oh well Hakee, ur time is getting short, as said above, you gotta be lucky ALL the time..if ur a cat surely you have used up most of those “9 lives”..lol!! This one would be very special, and it calls for a special plan, watever assets in theatre available, even if we gotta go get him..no rules apply here, don’t matter who’s feelings we “hurt”..wat a joke. GET HIM. Bring back his bullet ridden corpse for display, that oughta get thier attention. ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR…

  • swt says:

    The Paks need to hold back proclaiming these HVT kills. The bad guys get more mileage out of these houdini acts as it makes them seem invincible. Just hold off and let the onslaught continue

  • Setrak says:

    Where’s this Times of India report about Qari Hussain being killed? He’s probably the most evil sonuva (bleep) in FATA. I did see one report saying he was one of the other Talib commanders present for the meeting but that he might have been injured. Nothing about him being actually dead, which would be very significant given that he was the first to take credit for Chapman and his sheer level of cruelty. I can think of no worse sort of man than the one that brainwashes children to not only kill others but themselves as well.

  • Peacock says:

    I know nothing of a Times of India report, but thaindian.com reported the following on 15 January: “On Friday, the agency said three top militant commanders – Qari Hussain, Asmatullah and Khawaja Muhammad Mehsud – were among the 10 militants killed in a US drone strike at a militants’ compound at Shaktoi village of South Waziristan on Thursday.”
    In light of Bill’s information, the tangential citation in the original reporting, and lack of follow-up reports, it seems to me more like the type of wishful reporting so characteristic of sources within this conflict. But, can’t begrudge a fella’ his slim but glimmering wish that Qari Hussain is poppy fertilizer.

  • steve m says:

    I read another report today that hakee is dead.
    //www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-39745.html

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