Exclusive: Tapes show Hakeemullah Mehsud is alive and threatens attacks in the US


Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, in a videotape dated April 4, 2010.

Two tapes were sent today to The Long War Journal by a group identifying itself as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. The same group sent a link earlier today to The Long War Journal to a YouTube video of Qari Hussain Mehsud claiming that the Taliban carried out the failed May 1 car bomb attack in New York City’s Times Square.

The two Hakeemullah tapes consist of a videotape of Hakeemullah flanked by two masked fighters, and an audiotape with images of Hakeemullah superimposed over a map of the US with explosions in the background. In both tapes, Hakeemullah claimed that the Taliban have infiltrated the US and that their operatives would launch attacks in American cities.

The videotape was produced on April 4, while the audiotape was produced on April 19, according to Hakeemullah [watch the tapes here]. The tapes provide the first definitive dates to prove he is alive since he issued an audiotape on Jan. 16, just two days after he was thought killed in a US strike in the Pasalkot region in North Waziristan. Hakeemullah was also reported dead on two subsequent occasions. On the videotape, Hakeemullah specifically mentioned the report of his death on Feb. 9, when a Pakistani TV channel claimed he died near Multan. “Sometimes they say [I was killed] in a Drone attack, mostly giving references of Shaktai or Arukzai and sometimes they say we martyred him on his way to Multan,” Hakeemullah said.

Hakeemullah used much of the audio and video tapes to warn the US that his followers have been dispatched to the US to carry out strikes in the major cites and “states.”

“The time is very near when our fedayeen will attack the American states in their major cities,” Hakeemullah said. “And Inshallah (god willing) we will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America.”

“Inshallah very soon in some days or a month’s time, the Muslim ummah will see the fruits of most successful attacks of our fedayeen in USA.”

He also urged the Muslim masses to “wake up from the slumber of ignorance and cowardness” as “America and its allies are facing the worst defeat ever in the history.” Hakeemullah says the US seeks to “run away from Afghanistan from under the camouflage of peace deals.”

Hakeemullah’s reemergence on the scene takes place after more than three months of guessing by officials and the media about his status. Pakistani and US officials have insisted that he died in the Jan. 14 airstrike, and major news outlets have also claimed he was no longer in charge.

US military and intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal have been skeptical of the reports of Hakeemullah’s death since the rumors first began on Jan. 15, 2010.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency said late last week that Hakeemullah was likely alive, while the Pentagon said that although Hakeemullah is likely alive, he is no longer in command of the Taliban. Hakeemullah’s latest two tapes put the Pentagon’s assessment in doubt. US military and intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal had disagreed with the Pentagon’s original assessment last week that Hakeemullah was no longer in command.

For the complete timeline on reports of Hakeemullah Mehsud’s death and the Taliban’s refutation of the reports, see LWJ report, “Hakeemullah Mehsud — not dead yet.”

Bill Ardolino contributed to this report.

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



  • Scott says:

    I take it pretty seriously. I don’t get a lot of comfort in this failed so called “amateur” attack. While the conspiracy behind the first World Trade was uncovered because of an idiot who went back to get his truck deposit money, Ramzi Yousef’s team nearly succeeded in bringing down the buildings, killed six people and injured many more. His planning led to the success of the 9/11 attack.
    While it many not be that significant a distinction in this long war, I’m inclined to believe the Pakistani Taliban claim, versus the attack being a pure Al Qaeda mission. The failure of this attack and the microwave bomb at Pittsburgh Marathon may very be intended tactically. From what I understand about Mehsud is an “out of the box” tactician and thinker.
    Since I believe the Oklahoma City federal buidling bombing was an Iraqi/Ramzi Yousef planned mission with McVeigh and Nichols acting as mercenary agents, I would not rule out that kind of allied actor in this attack attempt.
    I am wondering if the date of the attack, May Day, has any signficance. It might to an allied agent.

  • Paul says:

    As I said before …one more attack on the US soil and they will unleash upon themselves helffire like they have never seen.

  • Paul says:

    Weew–yes he is satan in disguise.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    Wow. I was initially expecting it to be a lone wolf attack.

  • Eric L says:

    People are missing the significance of these past events or maybe I’m uninformed… However, I believe this is the first time the Taliban are attacking/threatening America. Significant because they have said their intentions only lie in Afghanistan.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • GeraldAnthro says:

    The production dates can be faked. Nothing described in the tapes prove they were made pre-time square screw up.
    Its a great tribute to your reporting that the tapes
    were sent to you.

  • Zeissa says:

    Sweet, looks like LongwarJournal is getting noticed by the bad guys – the good guys may follow soon!

  • Minnor says:

    We are not sure Hakimullah’s legs are intact. Swat taliban chief fazlullah lost his legs, and maybe he is alive too.

  • Zeissa says:

    This might also show they want the true supporters of the GWoT to know that he’s alive… this is a challenge.

  • Zeissa says:

    It doesn’t matter whether he has horns or not. Demonizing a human enemy is foolish, no matter how evil and twisted.
    Aaaand to assume McVeigh was a mercenary is … questionable at best.
    PS. I do not believe the Taliban and allies have shown the capability to fool voice recognition systems.

  • Render says:

    The creation date of the YouTube channel itself cannot be faked.
    There are always logs and nothing is secret on the web for long.

  • BraddS says:

    And I say unto you my American brothers, let even one drop of American blood be spilled in this land, and there will be unleashed upon the muslim world a devastation unlike any seen before on this earth. Stay strong, my American brothers, for the coming struggle will be a long, hard and decisive one.

  • BraddS says:

    Well, guess we just need to kill him again. Maybe a Hellfire with a wooden stake in it this time?

  • Al says:

    While Napolitano syas there is now reason the say this is terrorist related. Again, not able to confront or even see reality and the great danger to America. What a clueless DHS figurehead.
    It WAS terrorism, but by whom, we are not sure.

  • T Ruth says:

    Eric L,
    This is the Pakistani Taliban–TTP. Granted that at one level the Taliban are one, indeed AQ/T are one and even AQAM (including LeT etc.) are one.
    I don’t believe that the Pak Taliban have said their intentions are ltd to Afghanistan. By definition their terror certainly embraces Paqistan. It may well be new that they have now sought open war in the US.
    AQAM, indeed AQ, is akin to a Rubik’s cube. In one perspective you may see all the different colors nicely separated, in all others there exists a mix of the whole spectrum of terror outfits that the Paqistani State/Army have propagated. Indeed, if you look carefully, you’ll find the Pak Army, as propagator, itself in that Rubik’s cube. Which is why it is now Paq and not Pak. The Paq Taliban have long seen through the double-dealing Paq Army and they don’t like the color of their underwear. Despite their rejection, it is the Paq Army that chooses to be a part of that cube.
    For decades they have propagated violence as a tool in their foreign policy to get what they seek from their neighbors. In the same vein they have terrorised sections of their own people–erstwhile East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, Baluchistan and arguably even Pashtuns and others in particular situations.
    It’ll be interesting to see how the Paq State responds to this open declaration of war upon the people of the US and the people of NATO states.
    Equally interesting will be what Hillary is going to have to say to her Paq ally, (and to the American people) with whom she is supposed to be having a cosy strategic dialogue about a Grand Partnership.
    This is where we are 9yrs after AQ located its HQ in Paqistan. I’d really like to see a calculation of the aggregate military aid that US taxpayers have given per Paq soldier. Then ask, what hard results have Musharraf, Kayani and Co delivered?
    Also look at how America does business with this irresponsible country that has amassed a stockpile of nuclear weapons, illegally outside international regimes, in this volatile region?

  • ed says:


  • Charley says:

    How did we allow the Pakistani tail to wag the dog (US) for nine years? I would like to know if we have acquiesced in history ANY country’s killing, or being complicit in the killing, of our troops? Yet, Pakistan openly says it can’t do this or that because it needs to protect its terrorist assets, and we say fine, and get more of our troops killed. And Hillary acts tipsy and pally with her counterpart from Pakistan! Shameful.
    The conclusion can only be their possession of nuclear arms. Have nuclear arms – US will not touch you. Iran and North Korea see this well. Why do we wonder then that these other states would not want nuclear arms at any cost? The message has to be sent loud and clear to Pakistan – Enough already!!

  • T Ruth says:

    Minnor, about Mehsud’s legs, that ran through my mind too, as i watched the tape.
    The Pak intel guy recently said he was “basically OK”–that sounded like a qualified remark to me.
    If so, he obviously understands what pain is all about–his upping the ante now may well be related to his personal experience. About Khwaja too i remember reading that a hellfire arrived just after Khwaja had left some meeting. I think Asian Tigers is a one-off project so as not to confuse that action with the bigger stuff they had in their pipeline.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Do the Taliban have any additional capability to hit the American Homeland than AQ did during their “hayday”?

  • C.H. says:

    I really don’t think that its fair to go off on the Pakistani Government over this failed attack in NYC. From what it seems, it probably was the Pakistani Taliban that was (at least partially) responsible for the car bomb…but remember, TTP has been relentlessly bombing Pakistan these last few years. Hakimullah Mehsud has basically declared war on the State of Pakistan. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to blame Pakistani Intelligence, the ISI…a few days before this attack a kidnapped ISI chief was found brutally murdered.
    In an earlier thread someone said that the US is paying “Jizya” to Pakistan…I think that’s a bit intense. Does anyone here really believe that Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto, Gilani, and Qureshi are fanatical Islamists who want to destroy America? I don’t…

  • T Ruth says:

    CH sounds very PC.
    I’m sure there are a few around here that believe that Benazir Bhutto had a hand in creating the Taliban. The others you mention are lightweights, one is even a student.
    Btw Khwaja was not an ISI ‘chief’ and with all due respect, a bullet each to his head and chest does not a brutal murder make, at least not in those territories. Thats almost as chivalrous as being killed by a lance. He was not much more than a free-lancing megalomaniac brute himself.
    If you think Pakistan is caught between a rock and a hard place, think again, think it through to its roots.
    Pakistan IS a hard place, my friend, caught between a rock and a rock. For now at least.
    Btw, did anyone here say that the ISI was directly to blame for the TSq attack?

  • Taliesin319 says:

    In our Mosques and certainly in moslem schools. not all by any means, but enough for some to be hearing the siren song of jihad loud and clear. We
    know that American born muslim citizens are
    touring God’s outback in places like yemen, somalia, and pakistan ostensibly to study the language which in reality is ” suicide bombing 101 “.
    This war will be visited on us sooner than we think if our President and his minions continue to pander
    to Cair et alia for the sake of political correctness.

  • C.H. says:

    T Ruth,
    “PC” would be the DHS officials who are examining this attempted attack and saying “It’s not clear if this is an act of terrorism.” Its also PC for them to ignore the three tapes sent out by TTP and the comments by a local NYC Islamist group while declaring there is “no evidence” to support a Muslim extremist link.
    At this point I have started to believe that Pakistan is a more trustworthy ally than Karzai in Afghanistan. Karzai, the man US soldiers are dying for, has threatened to align with the Taliban and has copied Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the art of rigging elections. Pakistan’s last elections were much more successful. Also, it was Pakistan who took down Mullah Omar’s #2 in Karachi a couple of months ago…the Afghan government responded to this angrily. Anyone who cares about progress in the region should be disgusted by this.
    Some people will say that Pakistan is “not doing enough” about Haqqani and the Afghan Taliban. Yes, maybe so, but that’s because it’s their markets, mosques, and government buildings that pay the price when suicide bombers are used to retaliate. We’ve had one car bomb in the United States since 9/11…and it didn’t even go off. Its not fair for Americans to rant against Pakistanis when their cities are burning.

  • Wintoon says:

    The cascade of inflammatory jihadist rhetoric awaits a major attack that occurs on American soil. The blow back will indeed be “shock and awe” to use the old phrase. Mr. Obama will have his hand forced to act vigorously if not ruthlessly in retaliation or we will have a crisis in American government as he is summarily put to the side regarding national defense. He may still preside over health care. No putsch, but a demotion from full commander in chief. I pray it doesn’t come to that.

  • Neo says:

    It appears that they are at least making something of an effort to connect with potential terrorists within the US. So far it doesn’t look like they are getting much of a response from the fairly sizable Muslim community in North America. They seem to be getting a trickle at best. It mostly seems to be misguided and antisocial youth who get sucked into the Jihadi Internet sites. Connections between the Taliban and any prospective US recruits seem to be fairly tenuous. I certainly don’t discount a major act of terrorism though, in fact a statement bombing seems to be overdue.

  • Neo says:

    “It looks like he has horns. it makes it hard to take him seriously when he has horns.”


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