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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan Army Investigates Report Mehsud is Dead, Taliban Denies Report

VOA News 31 January 2010

The Pakistani army said Sunday it is investigating reports that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died from injuries sustained in a U.S. drone missile strike in mid-January.

The army's announcement followed a report on Pakistani state television that Mehsud had died and has been buried.

The Taliban has denied again Sunday that their leader was killed.

Conflicting reports about the militant leader's death first surfaced after the January bombing in northwest Pakistan that killed at least a dozen militants.

The Taliban released two audio tapes after the bombing as proof Mehsud survived the attack.

Some reports say Mehsud may have been killed in another drone attack a few days later.

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told the French News Agency that Mehsud is "alive and safe." He said media stories about Mehsud's death are meant "to create differences among Taliban ranks."

Tariq said the Taliban has provided proof that Mehsud is alive, and that people who say he is dead "should provide proof."

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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