Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hakimullah Mehsud

Hakimullah (Hakim Ullah, Hakeemullah) Mehsud (born c. 1979 as Jamshed Mehsud  and also known as Zulfiqar Mehsud, is the Emir of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He was deputy to commander Baitullah Mehsud and one of the leaders of the militant group Fedayeen al-Islam prior to the elder Mehsud's death in a CIA drone missile strike. He had been the TTP's commander in the Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai agencies of Pakistan. He is described as being in his late 20s[dated info] and a cousin of Qari Hussain. He is known to be a young and aggressive field commander, who previously served as a driver and was very close to Baitullah Mehsud. Hakimullah Mehsud maintains ties to al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and various Pakistani jihadist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Reports initially indicated he was fatally wounded on January 14, 2010 by a U.S. drone attack although two videos released by the TTP in 2010 and 2011 proved that he survived the attack. Mehsud was reported by Pakistani intelligence to have been killed by US drone strike on 12 January 2012. However, the Pakistani Taliban denied the claim.

Early years
Hakimullah was born Jamshed Mehsud in the region of Kotkai near the town of Jandola in South Waziristan. His only schooling was at a small village madrassa in Hangu District. One of the other students at the time was Baitullah Mehsud, but he dropped out.

Jamshed Mehsud joined his clansman Baitullah in jihad, initially as his bodyguard and aide. He adopted the nom de guerre Zulfiqar, then later took the name Hakimullah, meaning one who has knowledge. He gained a reputation within the Taliban for his battle skills with the AK-47 and the Toyota pickup truck. One Taliban member told a BBC correspondent that at the time Hakimullah's reputed skills were second only to Nek Mohammad.

In 2004, he was made a spokesman. He organized a series of raids against U.S. military convoys between the summer of 2007 and the spring of 2008 that forced the closure of the Khyber Pass six times. In 2008, he was given command of the Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram districts.

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