News / Asia

Mehsud Known as Pakistani Taliban's 'Fiery' Leader

FILE - Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi (r) and Hakimullah Mehsud, the new leader of the Taliban in Pakistan.
FILE - Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi (r) and Hakimullah Mehsud, the new leader of the Taliban in Pakistan.
VOA News
Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, killed in a U.S. drone strike Friday, earned a reputation for being "fiery," "aggressive" and "reckless."

Thought to be responsible for thousands of deaths, Mehsud had a $5-million bounty placed on his head by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The young leader took charge of the Taliban in Pakistan in 2009 after a suspected U.S. drone strike killed his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud.

Hakimullah Mehsud was believed to be in his late 20s at the time. Mehsud had been close to his predecessor, being appointed Baitullah Mehsud's chief spokesman in 2007.

Hakimullah Mehsud became known as a rising star within the Taliban and masterminded a series of attacks on NATO supply vehicles headed for Afghanistan.

He has been reported dead before in attacks, including one early last year, for which there was no confirmation from Pakistan, and the Taliban issued a denial.

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