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Updated: February 10, 2010 16:08 IST

Pakistan officials: Taliban chief is dead

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A file photo of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. AP.
A file photo of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. AP.

Pakistan’s interior minister and a senior intelligence official say the country’s Taliban chief has died.

In messages to The Associated Press on Wednesday, the officials did not provide details of how or when Hakimullah Mehsud died. But it was the first time Pakistani authorities have categorically said the militant chief is dead.

Rumours of Mehsud’s death have swirled for weeks, after a spate of U.S. missiles hit his stronghold in Pakistan’s northwest in mid-January. Mehsud was said to have died of wounds suffered in one of the strikes.

The Taliban have denied his death, but have failed to prove that he is alive.

The intelligence official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record.

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