A new video Pakistani Taliban have released appears to show the extremist group's chief Hakimullah Mehsud survived a U.S drone strike on his hideout in the Waziristan tribal region.
U.S and Pakistani officials have long believed the Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed early this year in one of the drone attacks on his hideout in the Waziristan region, which borders Afghanistan. But two videos have emerged in recent days suggesting the militant commander is still alive.
In the footage, Mehsud says he is speaking on April 4, terming reports of his death as propaganda. The chief of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP also threatened revenge suicide attacks in the United States.
The video warning was posted on the internet shortly after the militant group claimed it was behind Saturday's attempted car bomb attack in New York's Times Square. But the New York police said they have not found evidence to support the militants' claim.
Many experts like former Pakistani army officer Mehmood Shah are suspicious about the TTP's ability to carry out overseas attacks. But he says the group's links to the al-Qaida network are a known fact. "Taliban probably do not have the capability and reach to extend their operations abroad, and if they are making a claim like this it is probably that they want to really say that they are closely linked with al-Qaida," he said.
Militants loyal to commander, Hakimullah Mehsud, have carried out frequent deadly attacks across Pakistan, targeting military as well civilian installations. The violence has subsided in recent months because Pakistani officials say security forces have successfully weekend the Taliban movement and dismantled its terror networks in the tribal belt lining the border with Afghanistan.
Reports of Mehsud's death in a suspected U.S drone attack had appeared in mid January, just days after he appeared in a farewell video with a Jordanian double agent who carried out a suicide bomb attack on a key U.S-run military base across the Afghan border. The bombing killed seven officers of the U.S Central Intelligence Agency, the second worst attack on the spy agency's history.