Doubts have been cast over Pakistani government’s claims about the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistani Taliban, after a British TV channel on Friday showed a video in which he was seen smiling and talking to a group of supporters.
Hakimullah was reported by Pakistani authorities to have been killed in a violent war of succession between rival Taliban factions following the death of their leader Beithullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone attack recently.
Sky News said the video was said to have been filmed a “few weeks” ago somewhere in south Waziristan. It said the people “thronging round him appear to accept him as their leader”.
The channel also claimed that it had obtained a “rare interview” with Hakimullah in which he threatened to attack America if American bombing of Taliban strongholds did not stop.
“If America continues to attack the innocent people of the tribal areas then we are forced to attack America,” he said adding: “We will make new plans to attack them. You prepare for jihad and this is the time of jihad. We are preparing for jihad.”