Are the top 2 Pakistani Taliban leaders ‘at each other’s throats’?

Video of Hakeemullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman Mehsud’s press conference in Sararogha on Oct. 4, 2009. They denied reports that they were at odds back then.

According to Reuters, Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and his deputy, Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s South Waziristan branch, are ready to kill each other. From Reuters:

“You will soon hear that one of them has eliminated the other, though hectic efforts are going on by other commanders and common friends to resolve differences between the two,” one TTP commander said.

Waliur Rehman denied the report:

“There are no differences between us,” Rahman said.

Perhaps this is true. But then again, Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman have been said to be “at each other’s throats” for years. Remember the “battle at the shura” back in 2009, when Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman supposedly killed each other while fighting at a meeting that was held to decide who would succeed Baitullah Mehsud? We do. The so-called battle never happened, and Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman gave a joint press conference denying the reports shortly after that “incident” was said to have occurred.

These rumors of intense internal divisions within the Pakistani Taliban are often floated by Pakistani military and intelligence officials keen to show the group is weak. The “battle at the shura” story was told by Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister. Pakistani intelligence officials backed him up, but they were all silent when Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman appeared together and denied the premature reports of their demise.

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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  • Devin Leonard says:

    Maybe we will get lucky and these two losers will actually wax each other this time:)

  • Brian Higgins says:

    Look out! When a couple of buddies start a mock fight it is you who will get sucker punched.

  • mike merlo says:

    Interestingly enough under the present circumstances they both probably realize its in their mutual best interests to help each other stay alive. These people better than anybody know how duplicitous the Pakistani’s can be. Whatever Machiavellian schemes are playing out I guess we’ll know soon enough if any at all.

  • Dr.Shafaq says:

    Bill Roggio, if i excerpt what you aforesaid that”These rumors of intense internal divisions within the Pakistani Taliban are often floated by Pakistani military and intelligence officials keen to show the group is weak. The “battle at the shura” story was told by Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister. Pakistani intelligence officials backed him up, but they were all silent when Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman appeared together and denied the premature reports of their demise.”After reading this i was quite amazed that whether you are promoting terrorism or diminishing it, because terrorist organizations in Pakistan are creating havoc causing perennial damages to its economy and smearing its reputation worldwide as well. Pakistan consider it as a glad tiding if there is a rift between Hakim and Rehman because it will impart massive unnerving to TTP. But you are portraying it as a false promulgation of Pakistan to show that the group is weak. Well, lets come to your point as well , don’t you think if Pakistan is doing so .. it is in best interest of eradicating terrorism from the world??!! Taliban are using Media to inculcate their fear and power in minds of general public and people are getting indoctrinated of what they say. So the best counter attack against Taliban indoctrination , in my opinion is Media, by showing their true picture that they are nothing but terrorists and soon Pakistan is going to exterminate and abolish that infidel and already weakened group completely. So plz dont spread furthur chaos and disarray in general public. Its a Humble request. I hope you will bear it with patience. thanks.

  • Charu says:

    Nothing that the Pakistani’s say can be taken at face value. It would be substantially more rewarding to first assume the opposite of anything that they say, and then wait for the facts to bear this out

  • mike merlo says:

    Who is Shafaq & what is he/she talking about? This sounds like pablum from the ISI PR machine. I’m also curious to know how TLWJ commentary spreads “furthur chaos and disarray in the general public?”

  • Eric says:

    Shafaq’s humble request had me laughing myself sick. I’m still giggling about it. Good one Shafaq.
    Oh, wait a minute. Was that serious? Rehman Malik trots out in front of the press every week and claims things which are easily proven false, like the Battle of the Shura, which is shown to be a total lie by the the two talibanis themselves. Shafaq, buddy, this leaves the Pakistani government in a position where the entire free world looks at an official Pakistani government spokesman tell an utter lie, and then no action is taken by officials to remove him from that job. Which means what exactly? The free world believes the Pakistani people have absolutely no trouble with telling lies, publically and privately, and are not worthy of trust or any due consideration as reliable people.
    That is the weakest position a nation can place itself in, and will result in the failure of that nation’s state apparatus. Why beg our indulgence while that behavior is continued? If you seriously want to see that continue, it boggles belief. Taken individually, one official’s comfort with lying openly and unashamedly to the public is inexcusable, and grounds for dismissal from office, and criminal and administrative sanctions. But seeing the behavior continue, week after week, sanctioned and supported by the rest of the Pakistani government just boggles the mind. And the fact that so many Pakistani people miss the terrible importance of that problem to Pakistan’s foreign affairs is telling us what is going to happen to them in the years to come.

  • Tim says:

    While I agree w/ Dr. Shafaq that information / dis information / propaganda are legitimate and useful weapons in war, this effort by Pakistan does not seem to be very effective.
    I also have an issue with the writer / editor. The main premise of the story seems to promise some information on internal divisions in TTP, and then disclose at the end of the story the basis of this article was a story floated by Pakistan that was proven false. If there are no other facts to support the proposition, why repeat falsehoods?

  • Dr.Shafaq says:

    mike merlo, well isnt it spreading chaos in general public of Pakistan by having a false impression that Pak army is concocting operations against Taliban. AND THIS OBSCURE ARTICLE CAN EFFECT THE PUBLIC WHO IS NOT AWARE OF THE FACTS.

  • Dr.Shafaq says:

    Eric, Dear what you said, i endorse it. You are rite. Current Pak Gov. is a stooge. and u know from “Stooge” what i mean. The only thing that i am concerned about is the image of Army in Pak Public which is insidiously deteriorated due to the actions of Gov. And promoting such kind of videos are adding pain to injury.Putting myself into your shoe, it is quite easy to spurn what i said and this is just because of the puppet gov. of Pakistan. Pakistan is going through a hard phase now a days , stuck amid atrocities done by terrorist organizations and being a patriot i have real pain for that dear. That is why i “HUMBLY” requested that do not spread more anarchy. It is just a matter of time dear and by the Grace of God , we will abrogate terrorism from our country IA. And addressing mike ..”DEAR WHY SO AFRAID OF ISI??? COME ON ITS NOT GONNA EAT YOU.. ISI is not sorcery that whatever happens around the globe comes over ISI, and That is actually quite funny 😛 . plz calm down.. I wish i could be with ISI by the way :/ .And it makes me elated and really proud to listen ISI as the top agency in the world :). thanks.”

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Tim, you misunderstood the intent of the article, which was to say that we’ve heard all of this before and the rumors turned out to be completely false, so why should we believe this now? I didn’t say the current Reuters report was false, or true, but did give you good reasons to doubt it.
    Dr. Sharaq, my advice is that if the Pakistani government/military (or to be more accurate military’s government) is so concerned about its image, it shouldn’t issue such easily disproven statements, time & time again. My job isn’t to support a government or its policies, but to help people understand what is really happening. The reality is that bad policy is influenced by bad information. The perfect example of this was the US waiting for Pakistan to take action in North Waziristan. The US waited for years, and it never happened.

  • mike merlo says:

    Who are you kidding Pakistan has been one continuous concoction since the Partition of 1947. Bangladesh & Indonesia are Muslim nations with more people & facing many of the same challenges. One rarely reads or hears, if ever, of them blaming others or making excuses for their problems. India & Pakistan gained independence simultaneously yet India has managed to move forward & with 5 times as many people. Feel free to live your ‘false impression’ while Pakistan continues to cannibalize itself.

  • Dr.Shafaq says:

    Well, i am not living in any false hood, and neither our nation is going to cannibalize Pakistan nor other countries with their viciously contrived intend, can harm Pakistan. and secondly i think no one can avert his/her eye from the strategic importance of Pakistan and the nations about which you refereed are of mere significance strategic importance. So if you are well aware of the facts ‘I HOPE’, then you better know that all the atrocities against Pakistan are orchestrations of anti-Pakistan elements in order to cede Pakistan to get the benefits from the land, and the current gov. is tandem with them. and last but not the least i have no feud with you instead all i want from you is to change your prophetic disclosures from a cynic to an optimist dear, because by the Grace of God, we will soon overcome all the violence and atrocities staged by some anti-state organizations.


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