Hakeemullah Mehsud alive, shown on tape executing former ISI officer

Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, appeared on a recent videotape directing the execution of a former intelligence officer who is known as one of the fathers of the Taliban. Hakeemullah’s appearance on the tape ends months of speculation and erroneous news reports that the Taliban chief was killed in a US Predator airstrike last fall.

The Pakistani Taliban leader appeared on a videotape that showed the execution of Colonel Imam, one of the original Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence directorate officers who guided and nurtured the Afghan Taliban during their rise to power in the mid 1990s.

On the videotape released today, Hakeemullah is seen standing behind Colonel Imam, who is first seen sitting on the ground. Imam is directed to stand, then one of Hakeemullah’s armed henchmen brutally shoots Imam several times. Hakeemullah and the armed men are then seen chanting.

In March of 2010, the Taliban, under the guise of the so-called Asian Tigers, kidnapped Imam, Khalid Kwawaja, a former ISI officer-turned-lawyer who defended numerous jihadis in Pakistani courts, and a British journalist as they visited the tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan. The three men had entered the tribal agencies ostensibly to create a documentary, but are suspected of having attempted to negotiate a peace agreement on behalf of the Pakistani military. The Taliban executed Khawaja in April 2010, having accused him of working for the ISI and the CIA. The British journalist was released five months later.

Before the execution of Khawaja, the Taliban demanded that Pakistan release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former leader of the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura; Maulvi Abdul Kabir, the former leader of the Afghan Taliban’s Peshawar Regional Military Council; and Mullah Mansur Dadullah Akhund, a former military commander in the Afghan south.

Since that time, Baradar and Kabir appear to have been released, but Dadullah is thought to still be in custody.

Today’s videotape is the first in which Hakeemullah has appeared since the summer of 2010. Although it was rumored that Hakeemullah had been killed in an early October Predator airstrike in North Waziristan along with Qari Hussain Mehsud, his deputy and the Taliban’s master trainer of suicide bombers, The Long War Journal has been skeptical of such reports from the beginning. Azam Tariq, the Taliban’s top spokesman, has insisted throughout that Hakeemullah and Qari Hussain were alive. In January, the US State Department said that Qari Hussain was alive after adding him to the list of specially designated global terrorists.

Hakeemullah is a close ally of al Qaeda, and has sworn allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Hakeemullah directs terror attacks against the Pakistani state, supports attacks against US and Afghan forces across the border, and ordered the failed Times Square bombing that took place on May 1, 2010. Both Hakeemullah and Qari Hussain appeared in videotapes claiming responsibility for the attack, while Faisal Shahzad, the failed bomber, was traced back to Pakistan and was later seen on a propaganda tape with Hakeemullah.

Hakeemullah also aided in the Dec. 30, 2009 suicide attack at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province, Afghanistan, that killed five CIA officials, including a base chief, as well as two bodyguards and a Jordanian intelligence officer. Hakeemullah was featured on the martyrdom tape with the suicide bomber, Abu Dujana al Khorasani.

The CIA has targeted Hakeemullah and Qari Hussain in several Predator strikes over the past several years for their involvement in multiple terror attacks in South Asia and the attempted Times Square bombing. Hakeemullah has promised he would continue to strike at the US.

For more information on Hakeemullah Mehsud, see LWJ report, US Treasury sanctions Pakistani Taliban, top two leaders.

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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  • Charu says:

    This is fascinating. The Taliban have clearly surpassed their ISI masters in lying and dissembling. What else is left except parricide to show that they are ready to take over the Kingdom in true Mughal fashion? While Kayani’s trying to play mind games with the US, his bowels are being eaten up from within. Was it the ISI who fabricated the rumor that Imam died of a heartattack in order to save face? Does this mean that the previous reports of dissension/summary execution within the Taliban ranks over the earlier killing of the other ISI operative (Khawaja) who was captured with Imam was more ISI fabrication? Oh the web they weave in order to deceive!

  • jayc says:

    “Hakeemullah…has sworn allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.”
    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Mullah Omar personally ask for the release of Colonel Imam?

  • Nick says:

    Amazing information

  • Charles says:

    I wonder if that has anything to do with this:

    US In Secret Talks With Taliban
    Feb. 19, 2011, 3:50 PM

    Steve Coll of The New Yorker reports:

    The Obama Administration has entered into direct, secret talks with senior Afghan Taliban leaders, several people briefed about the talks told me last week.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/us-in-secret-talks-with-taliban-2011-2#ixzz1EU3e3hjP

  • Ben says:

    He was a decorated hero of Charlie Wilson’s war and was a mentor of Afghan Taliban. Then who are the people who could kill him. Not the Taliban, for sure. Pro-India elements operating in tribal region may be behind his killing. Read more at: http://passivevoices.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/who-could-possibly-kill-a-hero-of-charlie-wilson%E2%80%99s-war%E2%80%99/

  • Baitullah Mehsud who was his predecesor was not killed by Pakistani Army even though his presence and GPS coordinates were known to them. They wanted US drones or heli ops to kill him . Why? basically it was even rumoured by ISI that Baitullah was an American spy and was falsely implicated in Benazir murder by Musharaff. Now it seem Musharaff is the one who helped in the killing of Benazir. The killing of Baitullah turned TTP against the Americans and why Americans fell into this trap?

  • Ranger says:

    This also ends speculation about the exact nature of Imam’s demise…

  • Charu says:

    Brilliant deduction; Hakimullah hasto be an Indian agent! Why else would he kill a decorated hero of Charlie Wilson’s war?

  • Paul says:

    I have read that Colonel Imam visited the White House under Bush Sr. & was trained @ Fort Bragg. Is this all true?

  • R S JOHAR says:

    Pakistan has been playing a dangerous game ie double crossing Americans by supporting Afghan Taleban since long. Pak army will never undertake operations in NW and if forced, it will be a farce action. The truth of the matter is that due to this duplicity by their main ally, US and NATO forces are on the verge of defeat in Afghanistan and now finding a face saving formula. Afghan Taleban will finally rule Afghanistan and their next agenda will be to join TTP and Panjab outfits LeT, Jaish, LeJ etc and take on Pakistan to impose sharia. Some Pak regular army units will switch over to their side to complete their objective. There is every likelyhood of nuclear arsenal falling in the hands of terror oufits in Pakistan endangering SE Asia and USA. Cant figure out what Americans are going to do in such a contigency?

  • True Muslim says:

    These Taliban dogs are a big Danger for Pakistan , Afghanistan , USA and Europe.
    So, there should be no talks with them.
    I am a citizen of Pakistan.
    I know what ate they doing here in Pakistan.
    War should be continues till the end of these killers.


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