Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud is alive: spy agency
While presumed killed in a drone strike in January, Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud is in fact alive, according to a senior intelligence official in Islamabad. It may set back the US drone program.
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The Taliban themselves have not released a statement or brought Hakimullah forward to prove his alive.Skip to next paragraph
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What his possible survival means in practical terms is not clear. Intelligence officials told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Hakimullah has lost clout within the Pakistani Taliban since January. It is not inconceivable, however, that he could regain the position he lost through a power struggle.
His survival, if true, is also likely to fuel an already simmering debate. Many already question the program, which is conducted in complete secrecy without Congressional oversight.
A recent House Committee on drone strikes sharply questioned the legality of the CIA’s program. Scholars testifying at the hearing called the strikes “a clear violation of international law," reports the AP.
CIA spokesman George Little responded that the program is conducted in strict accordance with the law.
Others have recently prodded the CIA to finally admit the drone program even exists. In a recent opinion piece for the New York Times, Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, both of the New America Foundation, called the program the “world’s worst-kept secret.” Coming clean, the authors argued, could help tamp down popular outrage in Pakistan about the strikes.
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