News you may have missed #0277

  • Western officials say a CIA air strike has killed Hakimullah Mehsud. Mehsud was the leader of the largest faction of the Pakistani Taliban, and one of the handlers of Humam Khalil al-Balawi, the Jordanian who killed seven CIA officers last December in Khost, Afghanistan. Mehsud took over the leadership of the Pakistan Taliban last August, after another CIA air strike killed his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud (no relation).
  • US citizen requests North Korea asylum. An unidentified 28-year-old American man who crossed into North Korea from China has allegedly sought asylum because he did not “want to become a cannon fodder in the capitalist military”. He apparently told North Korean officials that he “wants to serve in the North Korean military” instead.

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Taliban execute Mehsud’s family members on espionage charges

Baitullah Mehsud

Baitullah Mehsud

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Four relatives of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud were reportedly arrested last week by Taliban militants, who suspect them of having informed Pakistani and US intelligence about Mehsud’s whereabouts. Pakistani and US officials say they are almost certain that Mehsud was killed in an unmanned drone air strike (probably remotely operated by the CIA) earlier this month. Mehsud’s family members arrested by the Taliban include his father-in-law, Ikramuddin Mehsud, his son, Ziauddin Mehsud, his brother, Saeedullah Mehsud, and his nephew, Iqbal Mehsud. Earlier today, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, told reporters that the Taliban have executed Mehsud’s family members, listed above, after “confirming” their espionage activities. Read more of this post

Intelligence sources speak of clashes between rival Pakistani militias

Baitullah Mehsud

Mehsud

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Exactly one week after Pakistani officials announced the assassination of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, there are unconfirmed reports of serious clashes between rival armed factions in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Canadian sources are quoting unnamed intelligence officials who claim that Mehsud’s Taliban fighters are engaged in an all-out offensive against militia followers of Turkistan Bitani, a tribal warlord backed by the Pakistani government. Bitani spoke to the Associated Press saying that 90 fighters have so far died in the offensive and that at least 40 houses have been destroyed. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0065

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Is Mehsud dead, and if so, who or what killed him?

Baitullah Mehsud

Baitullah Mehsud

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
There is confusion about the fate of Pakistan’s senior Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud. On August 7, the Pakistani military told the world’s media that an unmanned drone air strike (probably operated by the CIA) had killed Mehsud. The Associated Press reported that a Taliban commander in Pakistan, Kafayat Ullah, had confirmed that “Mehsud and his wife died in the American missile attack in South Waziristan”. Pakistani military officials said they were “reasonably sure” of the accuracy of these reports, but that they did not possess irrefutable “forensic evidence” of Mehsud’s death. Over the weekend, however, other Taliban leaders came forward to contest Ullah’s account. Read more of this post

Foreign spy services active in Pakistani army’s war with the Taliban

Fazlullah

Fazlullah

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Pakistani military and security officials alleged earlier this week that foreign intelligence services are helping pro-Taliban warlords fight the Pakistani army in Swat and in other tribal areas in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. According to news reports from Islamabad, the officials have presented the Pakistani government with an extensive report alleging covert assistance to pro-Taliban forces from Indian and Israeli agents. The classified report alleges that Israel supplies tribal warlords “with modern technology”, including radio equipment, while Indian agents, operating out of Indian consulates in the region, are providing the Taliban with weapons and probably training. Pakistani military officials claim they have proof of visits by Indian operatives to Taliban training camps and of meetings between Indian operatives and leading pro-Taliban military leaders and propagandists, such as Maulana Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud. Read more of this post