The US is likely to further pressure on Pakistan to clear militant strongholds after Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad said he trained in one. But Pakistan has wavered on cracking down before.
Experts cast doubt on the Pakistan Taliban’s apparent claim to have planned the Times Square bombing and its threat to attack US cities.
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.
Some Pakistan Taliban officials say leaders now meet in secret for fear of US drone strikes. But they vow to keep up their own offensive, as evidenced by a string of bomb attacks last week that killed 70 people.
Pakistani officials said Saturday that Maulvi Faqir Mohamed, a top Pakistan Taliban leader, was likely killed in an airstrike Friday in northwestern Pakistan along with other Taliban leaders.
After years of deflecting US pressure to rein in the Afghan Taliban, Pakistan has arrested in rapid succession the group's No. 2 Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, two shadow provincial governors, and up to nine Al Qaeda-linked militants.
The No. 2 Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Omar was captured in Karachi, where many Pakistani militants have been reported to be hiding. Police say there are 150 Taliban fighters in the city now.
US forces are poised to move into the southern Afghanistan town of Marjah, and have warned civilians to leave the area. But only a few hundred Afghan families have responded.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister and a senior intelligence official confirmed Wednesday that Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is dead, though some Taliban officials continue to issue denials.