Two senior Pakistani Taliban leaders thought to have been at odds have confirmed that the former leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is dead. The leaders also confirmed that Hakeemullah Mehsud is now the new leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, dispelling the rumors of rampant infighting to choose Baitullah’s successors.
Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman Mehsud said that Baitullah died on Sunday night from wounds suffered in the Aug. 5 US Predator strike in South Waziristan. The two Taliban leaders spoke via the phone from the same room to an The Associated Press reporter.
"He was wounded. He got the wounds in a drone strike and he was martyred two days ago," Hakeemullah Mehsud told The Associated Press. Waliur repeated the statement to confirm that Baitullah had been killed.
Both leaders stated that Hakeemullah is now the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Waliur would take command of the Taliban in South Waziristan.
Not surprisingly, Hakeemullah Mehsud threatened to strike back at the US for killing Baitullah Mehsud in a Predator attack earlier last month.
"We will take revenge and soon," Hakeemullah Mehsud, who was chosen to lead the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan last weekend, told AFP. "We will give our reply to this drone attack to America."