Hakeemullah Mehsud is alive, says former ISI officer


Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan commander Hakeemullah Mehsud, in 2008.

A former officer in the Pakistani military intelligence service with close ties to terrorist groups has denied that Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, was killed in a US airstrike.

Khalid Khawaja, a self-described humans rights activist with deep ties to the Taliban, al Qaeda, and a host of terrorist groups operating on Pakistani soil, claimed today that two of his associates met with Hakeemullah last week.

“Two of my acquaintances were with Hakeemullah Mehsud on March 9 while Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas had claimed he was dead early last month,” Khawaja told the Press Trust of India.

“I challenge the government to deny my claim and then I will disclose the names of those who were with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief on March 9,” Khawaja claimed.

Khawaja is a former Squadron Commander in the Pakistani Air Force who fought alongside al Qaeda and reportedly Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980s. After retiring as a major, he served in the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, Pakistan’s notorious military intelligence service that helped to found the Taliban and other jihadist terror groups. Khawaja has also been linked to the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Khawaja serves as the Taliban’s “consigliere,” a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. At the end of February, Khawaja succeeded in blocking the transfer of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s second in command, and four other members of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, to foreign custody.

The Pakistani government has insisted that Hakeemullah was killed on three separate occasions since Jan. 14, the day the US carried out an airstrike in North Waziristan. Hakeemullah publicly denied the first report but has not been heard from since Jan. 16. Several top Taliban commanders, including the deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban and Hakeemullah’s supposed successor, have denied that their leader was killed in the strike [see LWJ report, “Taliban release videotape of Hakeemullah Mehsud,” for more details on the reports and denials of Hakeemullah’s death].

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



  • Paul says:

    this guy and hamid gul should be targets!
    they dont even hide being our enemy!

  • Arjuna says:

    Let’s not forget to add Brigadier Amir to that target list, boys. He’s up to his eyeballs in treachery…

  • Mr T says:

    Hey Khawaja. While your out murdering innocent muslims, why don’t you and your murderous friends just take a kodak of Hakeemullah holding a current newspaper? Hmmm?
    We have a missile… I mean a message for him. Can you help deliver it? Oh and stay for the fireworks show after.

  • ConLima says:

    Today’s headlines are filled with Pak doublespeak. I think ISI takes a large percent of their day creating a fog of war.
    You know, one other thing that bothers me. This photo. Haki has this ‘yeh soos’ like pose and that dork behind him with the AMD rigged with a tasco.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Only in that diseased world would a scumbag linked with the murder of Daniel Pearl get away with operating as a “self described human rights advocate” with significant leverage in what passes for a judicial system. Pakistan is a blight upon human civilization.

  • kp says:

    Consider that the statement is true.

    If it is then it seems reasonable to assume that Hakeemullah Meshed was seriously injured at least in the last attack otherwise he would have made a video or tape clearly indicating the Americans failed to kill him (being immortal or at least difficult to kill is a good propaganda point but being hit isn’t).

    The other possibility is they want us to think he’s still alive while they continue to sort out their leadership issues.

    One things for sure this story will run for a while but they will have a problem with command and control if the mid-level commanders don’t know who is running the show.

  • jayant says:

    I say this again:
    The day when US start putting the ISI Scumbags on the Hit list is the day I would start having hopes on anything turning around.
    The US and rest of the world is wasting its time on destroying the branches with the root of it as as the supposed ‘ally’.
    Allow me to quote the dude in some movie said:
    Wake up and smell you coffee!

  • blacktiger says:

    As attractive as it may be to simplify solutions to this problem, reality dictates the need to develop a rapport / relationship with all the players involved in order to find a solution. While it may be true that at one point the US followed “cowboy diplomacy” as a general approach to armed conflict, I think the US has evolved over time away from that sort of mentality. We can not sacrifice ethics for expedience.


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