‘Baitullah Mehsud is alive’ – US intelligence official

‘Baitullah Mehsud is alive’ – US intelligence official

By Bill RoggioAugust 6, 2009 6:04 PM
Baitullah.jpg

Baitullah Mehsud from a recent Taliban video.

Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was not killed in yesterday’s airstrike in South Waziristan, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.

“Baitullah is alive,” one official old The Long War Journal. “We’re aware of the reports that he might have been killed and we are looking into it, but we don’t believe he was killed.”

The late night airstrike on a compound operated by Ikramuddin Mehsud, Baitullah’s father-in-law, in the village of Zanghra in the mountains near Baitullah’s home town of Makeen, killed Baitullah’s second wife and two other Taliban fighters. One of Baitullah’s two brothers was also reported to have been killed.

Witnesses on the scene immediately said that Baitullah was not among those killed. He reportedly visited his wife but left an hour prior to the attack.

But more than one day after the US strike in South Waziristan, rumors have surfaced that Baitullah was killed in the attack. The local Taliban are said to have cordoned off the area for over 36 hours to prevent outsiders from viewing the attack site, fueling conjecture that Baitullah is dead.

Earlier today, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman speculated that Baitullah was killed.

“We suspect he was killed in the missile strike,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Geo News. “We have some information, but we don’t have material evidence to confirm it.”

Pakistan’s chief military spokesman later denied reports the strike killed Baitullah.

Later today, a US intelligence official told ABC News that “there is strong indication” Baitullah was killed.

“Efforts are under way to determine for certain whether it was Mehsud, but there are hopes that it is him,” the official told the television network.

The Taliban have not issued a statement to confirm or deny Baitullah’s death. In the past, the Taliban and al Qaeda have released martyrdom statements upon the death of their senior leaders.

Reports of senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in Pakistan have been highly unreliable. In the past, al Qaeda leaders Ayman al Zawahiri, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, Abu Obaidullah Al Masri, Adam Gadahn, Ibn Amin, and Rashid Rauf have been reported killed in strikes, but these men later resurfaced. Similarly, Sa’ad bin Laden was recently reported killed, but he is now thought to be alive. And Abu Khabab al Masri was reported dead several times before he actually was killed in a July 2008 strike.

Pakistani Taliban leaders Mullah Nazir, Mullah Fazlullah, Faqir Mohammed, Omar Khalid, Hakeemullah Mehsud, and Qari Hussain, as well as Baitullah, have in the past all been reported killed, only to resurface later.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/08/baitullah_mehsud_is.php#ixzz0NVogPTAl

“Serbia faces new wave of organized crime and Albanian terrorism”

“Serbia faces new wave of organized crime and Albanian terrorism”

07. August 2009. | 10:14

Source: EMportal, Beta

“There is no doubt the terrorists are making preparations in the triangle of our southern province of Kosovo and Metohija, northern Macedonia, and the southern municipalities of Presevo and Bujanovac,” Tadic said, adding that terrorism in southern Serbia is related to the political process of the future status of Kosovo.

Serbian President Boris Tadic stated that Serbia faces a new wave of regional organized crime.

“For the first time in our history, we are facing trans-continental organized crime in the Western Balkans. Serbia, as the central country of that part of the Balkans, needs an extremely well-prepared police system in the face of these challenges,” Tadic told the latest issue of Policija Danas magazine.

He underlined that the police “have his support” and that Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic and his ministry are performing their duties “very well.”

Tadic added that terrorism is another challenge for Serbia, most of all the extreme Albanian terrorism in southern Serbia.

“There is no doubt the terrorists are making preparations in the triangle of our southern province of Kosovo and Metohija, northern Macedonia, and the southern municipalities of Presevo and Bujanovac,” Tadic said, adding that terrorism in southern Serbia is related to the political process of the future status of Kosovo.

WHO IS RUNNING THE WORLD?

WHO IS RUNNING THE WORLD?

The Feudal System still seems to be in place.

Who is running the world?

Jesuits, Zionists, Freemasons or what?

Imagine a group of bankers holding a meeting in the 1950s. They would like the USA to control North Korea and Vietnam. How easy will this be?

Think of the Middle Ages in Europe and how difficult it was for powerful people to prevent civil wars, international conflicts and schisms within the church.

Kissinger failed in Vietnam?

The excellent churchofnobody.blogspot/ has been wondering if certain banking families rule the world by using the paedophocracy.

The paedophocracy is “as an organised satanistic structure comprising the CIA, European aristocracy, and most tiers of most government…” – Power in Inverse Proportion to Publicity

Are bankers all powerful?

“People get whacked all the time, presidents included: Has anyone ever whacked a Rothschild?” – Two Disinfo Programmes Compared

Possibly, yes.

Amschel Rothschild, who was in line to lead the Rothschild family’s banking dynasty, ‘committed suicide’ in 1996.

(Rothschild Bank Confirms Death of Heir.)

Two French newspapers reported that a chambermaid found Amschel hanged in his room at the Bristol Hotel in Paris.

Amschel’s grandfather Charles ‘committed suicide’ in 1923.

“French police have determined that Amschel Rothschild, heir to the fabulous Rothschild banking fortune, was murdered, accordingto well-placed European sources.” – POLICE SAY AMSCHEL WAS MURDERED

The Three Estates

Does the ‘paedophocracy’ manage to escape all media publicity?

The UK’s Daily Mail (‘I have known about Jersey paedophiles for 15 years,’.)has given us part of the story:

“I met the frightened policeman at an isolated country restaurant, many miles from his home and station. Detective Constable Peter Cook had finally despaired, and decided to blow the whistle to a reporter…

“He had uncovered a vicious child sex ring, with victims in both Britain and the Channel Islands, and he wanted me to get his information to police abuse specialists in London.

“Incredibly, he claimed that his superiors had barred him from alerting them.

“He feared a cover-up: many ring members were powerful and wealthy. But I did not think him paranoid: I specialised in exposing child abuse scandals and knew, from separate sources, of men apparently linked to this ring.

“They included an aristocrat, clerics and a social services chief. Their friends included senior police officers.”

Rule by terror. Peterloo Massacre in the UK.
Aangirfan wonders if the Feudal System is still in place.

In the feudal system, you have scores and scores of top families who control huge amounts of wealth and power by using terror; and by using religion; and bribery; and seduction.

The bankers may look important, but they are nothing without the support of the generals; and the generals need the bankers and merchants.

The barons, bishops, knights, merchants and bankers are usually in alliance; but sometimes the various top families fall out with each other and lots of dirt gets thrown around.

Sometimes the King gets most of the publicity, but some bishop or banker may be highly influential behind the scenes; but I don’t think the public is ever totally unaware of the power of people like Cardinal Wolsey or Cardinal de Richelieu or Henry Kissinger.

Today, I don’t think any one group is necessarily all powerful. Certain child abusing freemasons or certain top Jewish bankers may exercise a lot of influence in certain areas but they are not all powerful.

What we may have is shifting alliances of various factions.

And the institution with the most power may well be the Pentagon, the people who have been performing badly in Afghanistan.

A Rothschild home.

If the bankers were all powerful they might not have experienced so many difficulties over the years?

In 2004, David de Rothschild (b. 1942), head of the French family, took over from Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. (The Rothschild story: A golden era ends for a secretive dynasty.)

David de Rothschild will remember that the Luftwaffe seized the family home in Paris and his mother had to leave Nazi Europe.

In 1981, President Mitterrand nationalised the French financial empire, Banque Rothschild.

Who rules the world?

According to historian Andrew Roberts (Democracy: Who rules the world – The Observer):

“The Chinese, sadly.

“As the sleeping giant finally awakens after six centuries, they are the ones with enough US Treasury bonds to dominate Western capitalism as soon as the moment appears ripe for them.”

WHO IS RUNNING THE WORLD?

The Feudal System still seems to be in place.

Who is running the world?

Jesuits, Zionists, Freemasons or what?

Imagine a group of bankers holding a meeting in the 1950s. They would like the USA to control North Korea and Vietnam. How easy will this be?

Think of the Middle Ages in Europe and how difficult it was for powerful people to prevent civil wars, international conflicts and schisms within the church.
Kissinger failed in Vietnam?

The excellent churchofnobody.blogspot/ has been wondering if certain banking families rule the world by using the paedophocracy.

The paedophocracy is “as an organised satanistic structure comprising the CIA, European aristocracy, and most tiers of most government…” – Power in Inverse Proportion to Publicity

Are bankers all powerful?

“People get whacked all the time, presidents included: Has anyone ever whacked a Rothschild?” – Two Disinfo Programmes Compared

Possibly, yes.

Amschel Rothschild, who was in line to lead the Rothschild family’s banking dynasty, ‘committed suicide’ in 1996.

(Rothschild Bank Confirms Death of Heir.)

Two French newspapers reported that a chambermaid found Amschel hanged in his room at the Bristol Hotel in Paris.

Amschel’s grandfather Charles ‘committed suicide’ in 1923.

“French police have determined that Amschel Rothschild, heir to the fabulous Rothschild banking fortune, was murdered, accordingto well-placed European sources.” – POLICE SAY AMSCHEL WAS MURDERED
The Three Estates

Does the ‘paedophocracy’ manage to escape all media publicity?

The UK’s Daily Mail (‘I have known about Jersey paedophiles for 15 years,’.)has given us part of the story:

“I met the frightened policeman at an isolated country restaurant, many miles from his home and station. Detective Constable Peter Cook had finally despaired, and decided to blow the whistle to a reporter…

“He had uncovered a vicious child sex ring, with victims in both Britain and the Channel Islands, and he wanted me to get his information to police abuse specialists in London.

“Incredibly, he claimed that his superiors had barred him from alerting them.

“He feared a cover-up: many ring members were powerful and wealthy. But I did not think him paranoid: I specialised in exposing child abuse scandals and knew, from separate sources, of men apparently linked to this ring.

“They included an aristocrat, clerics and a social services chief. Their friends included senior police officers.”
Rule by terror. Peterloo Massacre in the UK.
Aangirfan wonders if the Feudal System is still in place.

In the feudal system, you have scores and scores of top families who control huge amounts of wealth and power by using terror; and by using religion; and bribery; and seduction.

The bankers may look important, but they are nothing without the support of the generals; and the generals need the bankers and merchants.

The barons, bishops, knights, merchants and bankers are usually in alliance; but sometimes the various top families fall out with each other and lots of dirt gets thrown around.

Sometimes the King gets most of the publicity, but some bishop or banker may be highly influential behind the scenes; but I don’t think the public is ever totally unaware of the power of people like Cardinal Wolsey or Cardinal de Richelieu or Henry Kissinger.

Today, I don’t think any one group is necessarily all powerful. Certain child abusing freemasons or certain top Jewish bankers may exercise a lot of influence in certain areas but they are not all powerful.

What we may have is shifting alliances of various factions.

And the institution with the most power may well be the Pentagon, the people who have been performing badly in Afghanistan.

A Rothschild home.

If the bankers were all powerful they might not have experienced so many difficulties over the years?

In 2004, David de Rothschild (b. 1942), head of the French family, took over from Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. (The Rothschild story: A golden era ends for a secretive dynasty.)

David de Rothschild will remember that the Luftwaffe seized the family home in Paris and his mother had to leave Nazi Europe.

In 1981, President Mitterrand nationalised the French financial empire, Banque Rothschild.

Who rules the world?

According to historian Andrew Roberts (Democracy: Who rules the world – The Observer):

“The Chinese, sadly.

“As the sleeping giant finally awakens after six centuries, they are the ones with enough US Treasury bonds to dominate Western capitalism as soon as the moment appears ripe for them.”

Pakistan’s Leading Newspaper Juggles the Facts for New TTP Cover Story

TTP denies Mehsud’s killing

WANA: The militant commanders privy to Baitullah Mehsud denied reports of killings of their chief, sources said Friday.

Tehreek-e-Taliban sources said their chief Baitullah Mehsud is safe.

Reacting to the report, a rival of Baitullah group, Haji Turkistan Baithni’s aide Waziristan Baba confirmed the report saying Mehsud has been buried on the spot where he was shot down last night.  [Last week The News reported that “Baba” was the head of the new anti-Mehsud group, “Abdullah Mehsud,” the new Ameer over Bhittani.]

Commenting on TTP denial of the report, the government sources said it is the part of their (TTP) strategy to do so.

While, Federal Information Minister Rehman Malik urged to wait for the government confirmation of the killing of Baitullah Mehsud, saying details are being garnered in this connection.

Ten Years After IMU Raids, Central Asia Still Battling Militants

Ten Years After IMU Raids, Central Asia Still Battling Militants

An undated photo that purports to show an IMU training camp in Pakistan

August 06, 2009
By Bruce Pannier, Abubakar Siddique

When a small band of armed “refugees” crossed the Pamir Mountains from Tajikistan and seized a small village in Kyrgyzstan in August 1999, they did not appear to pose much of a threat.

It has since become clear that the storming of the international stage by those gunmen shattered the hopes of Central Asian governments that they could escape Pakistan- and Afghanistan-style Islamist insurgencies. It also set in motion events that would seriously damage relations among the three states that share the restive Ferghana Valley.

A full 10 years after the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) announced its arrival with the Pamir crossing and villague seizures, the group is now hunted across Central and South Asia and its name is frequently linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The IMU’s alliances with those two groups began after the IMU joined the Taliban’s efforts to fight forces commanded by Ahmad Shah Mas’ud in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

Then militants from across the Muslim world, particularly Arabs and increasing numbers from former Soviet states with Muslim majorities, flocked to Afghanistan for training, indoctrination, and refuge.

The IMU was among them, and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 led to a U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, IMU members fought alongside Al-Qaeda.

An intense U.S. bombing campaign in northeastern Afghanistan in late 2001 killed IMU military commander Jumanboy Khojaev (nom de guerre: Juma Namangani). The movement’s idealogue, Tahir Yuldash, led the surviving fighters’ flight to Pakistan, where many are believed to remain.

Recently, as local resentment has risen and military efforts to oust extremists alongside Pakistan’s western borders intensified, the IMU’s name has increasingly cropped up both there and in Central Asian states lying to the north.

Exponential Growth

Pakistani journalist and regional expert Ahmed Rashid has followed Islamist militancy in the South-Central Asian region for three decades. He says that when the IMU escaped to Pakistan’s western tribal areas with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in 2001, they numbered not more than a few hundred militants.

That’s no longer the case, he adds.

Rashid estimates the ranks of the militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan at “maybe four or five thousand.”

“The reason [for the increase] is that they have been able to establish a network that goes into Central Asia through Afghanistan, through Iran and through Turkmenistan,” Rashid says. “And they have been able to bring out young recruits, especially after the Andijon massacre [in May 2005] by [Uzbek] President [Islam] Karimov, when a lot of young Uzbeks were trying to escape their regime.”

In early 2004, Pakistani media started reporting that Qari Tahir, Yuldash’s nom de guerre, was leading fighting against Pakistani troops. Under immense Western pressure, the Pakistani Army had just begun what later became an extended campaign against Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements.

No Longer Welcome?

Rashid says Central Asian militants have a complicated relationship with the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and that some have become their mercenaries.

But widespread local perceptions that blamed Central Asians — and Uzbeks in particular — for kidnappings and assassinations eventually turned their erstwhile hosts against them.

IMU ideological leader Tahir Yuldash (undated)

In February 2007, local Taliban and Waziri Pashtun tribesmen in the South Waziristan tribal region fought Uzbeks under Yuldash’s command and forced them to seek shelter with Baitullah Mehsud in another part of South Waziristan. Later that year, Mehsud emerged as the leader of an alliance of Pakistani Taliban groups. He exercised control over Taliban networks in Bajaur and Swat, 400 kilometers north of Waziristan, where Central Asian militants were cited in significant numbers over the past two years.

Rashid says it is difficult to determine where they stand today, but that it’s clear that “there are many groups amongst them and there is rivalry amongst them.”

He says some groups have become “mercenaries in the sense that they hire themselves out to Pakistani Taliban commanders or Afghan Taliban commanders — and in that sense they are fighting against each other as much as with each other.”

“It’s been eight years now and we have seen a lot of developments,” Rashid says, “but a lot of these developments are not clear to outsiders, simply because this movement has remained underground — and its leadership, for example, is not clear.”

Reinventing Themselves

Although Tahir Yuldash is still considered its main leader, Pakistani media reports suggest the ranks of the IMU have been influenced greatly by rival groups and the increasing presence of Tajiks, Turkmen, and other Central Asians.

Rashid says that while in Pakistan, the IMU attempted to transform itself into the Islamic Movement of Turkestan, but is now competing with new groups that are much more ideologically motivated and have forged closer alliances within the jihadist world.

As the increased focus on Pakistani tribal areas as a militant sanctuary prompted periodic Pakistani military forays and attacks by unmanned spy planes, militants like IMU gunmen might be seeking new sanctuaries.

Rashid says the conditions in some Central Asian states might be conducive to “a resurgence of these groups in Central Asia.”

“I think they are counting on the fact that Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan are all facing extremely difficult economic situations — the increase of poverty, joblessness, the loss of remittances from workers who are working in other parts of the former Soviet Union,” Rashid says. “They are probably trying to take advantage of this very, very extreme economic situation that exists in Central Asia.”

Back In The Headlines

As if on cue, a flurry of reports has emerged of the IMU returning to Central Asia, sparking fears throughout the region.

Since late May, attacks in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan have all been blamed on the IMU.

Uzbekistan was the first in late May, when a small armed group crossed from Kyrgyzstan and attacked a border post, then a police station. The Uzbek government accused Kyrgyzstan of laxity in its internal security efforts, similar allegations to ones made in 1999 and 2000.

Kyrgyz authorities subsequently launched a security operation in the country’s section of the Ferghana Valley.

In late June, a spokesman for the governor of Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad Province reported that an encounter with IMU members had resulted in the death of one Kyrgyz security serviceman. At least nine people designated as IMU fighters had been killed in Kyrgyzstan by early July.

Preparing for an evening meal in the Tajik village of Garm, where weeks of rumor and security activity heightened fears that IMU militants were back in action

The problem then appeared to shift to Tajikistan. There were already reports that civil-war-era Islamic opposition field commander Mullo Abdullo had crossed from Afghanistan into Tajikistan in May with around 100 IMU fighters. In July, government security forces and the army reportedly clashed with armed fighters in the eastern Tavil-Dara region.

Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry claimed on August 5 that 11 IMU militants had been killed and 20 captured in the operation in Tavil-Dara. Mullo Abdullo was not among them.

Twelve suspected IMU members went on trial in Uzbekistan at the start of August. Tajikistan’s Supreme Court sentenced six IMU members at the end of July to jail terms.

The Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Uzbek governments do not appear to be coordinating their efforts to deal with the return of the IMU.

John MacLeod, acting director of the Central Asian program at the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, says such a lack of cooperation is unsurprising, given their histories.

“I think in the Ferghana Valley if there is a resurgence in Islamic militancy, we’ll see the Tajiks and the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks very much doing their own thing on the security front,” MacLeod says.

Observers might not have long to wait.

In late July, Tajik Interior Minister Abdurahim Qahhorov was already warning that the surge of operations by international coalition forces in Afghanistan might increase the likelihood of “terrorists, or anybody else who wants to live and seek safe haven” crossing into Tajik, Kyrgyz, and Uzbek territories.

Russians move 2 SS-21 Tactical Nuke Ballistic Missile Launchers into South Ossetia

Col. Sam Gardiner notes, in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Russia has deployed tactical nuclear weapons to South Ossetia. The SS-21 Missile launchers are relatively weak compared to bombs that have already been used against Georgia by the Russian air force. However, this move does indicate Russia is potentially upping the game from a conventional weapons war to a tactical nuclear More..weapons war. Gardiner notes that at a news conference on Sunday, the US Deputy National Security advisor has noted these weapons arriving in South Ossetia.http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/template.NDM/news/more/?javax.portlet.tpst=0b2c9a4dd5f89b80977dd367cc87b42f_ws_MX&javax.portlet.prp_0b2c9a4dd5f89b80977dd367cc87b42f_viewID=news_view_popup&javax.portlet.prp_0b2c9a4dd5f89b80977dd367cc87b42f_newsLang=en&javax.portlet.prp_0b2c9a4dd5f89b80977dd367cc87b42f_ndmHsc=v2*A1215860400000*B1218521888000*DgroupByDate*J2*L1*N1000837*Zjim%20jeffrey&javax.portlet.prp_0b2c9a4dd5f89b80977dd367cc87b42f_newsId=20080810005040&beanID=202776713&viewID=news_view_popup&javax.portlet.begCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=com.vignette.cachetoken

Staging Mehsud’s Death Could Be Pakistan’s “Path to Salvation”

[How convenient!!  Pakistan can now forget about fighting America’s offensive in S. Wazir. and relegate Mehsud to the same elusive status of Osama bin Laden, an undead potential martyr.  Just like bin Laden, this dual American/Pakistani agent was created for the sake of the big show.  Now that his part has been played, sufficiently terrorizing the local yokels in preparation for the next act, the next carefully-groomed character actor can come forth and play his part. Some day the Pakistani people will realize that thousands of them have died as “expendable” characters in the grand production of Bush/Musharref and now hundreds more in the new improved Obama/Kayani drama.  On that day, they will realize that all of their leaders have led them to hate America for their own crimes, as well.]

Baitullah Mehsud: Dead or alive?

By Ismail Khan

S5000209

PESHAWAR: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s chief Baitullah Mehsud may have been killed in a US missile strike that took place in South Waziristan late on Tuesday, intelligence officials say.

There has been no official confirmation in this regard and sources say these reports are ’95 per cent credible and true’.

Question remains: was Pakistan’s most wanted man present in the house of his father-law, when a US drone fired two missiles into the room his wife was living in? And if he was there, what happened to him?

The question boggled the minds and was perhaps the most discussed in government and security circles on Thursday.

Some officials say circumstantial evidence, certain intercepts and reports from the government’s operatives indicate that the man who carried a $5 million bounty on his head is no more.

Government officials are hesitant to ‘officially’ confirm Baitullah Mehsud’s death in the attack on Malik Ikaramuddin’s house in the Zangara village of South Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday.

Their reluctance is understandable. Past claims about the death of other TTP leaders, including its deputy, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad and Swat TTP leader, Mullah Fazlullah, have, embarrassingly, turned out to be untrue.

But the fact that the missile strike was carried out by a US drone, that the CIA has been using with relatively higher success rate in taking out some mid-level Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan’s tribal areas, has generated a degree of optimism that the most dreaded man in the country may have died.

Circumstantial evidence abound, say these sources. The vehicle in the use of the 37-year-old head of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan had also been hit in the strike on the same compound.

Baitullah Mehsud had married Ikramuddin’s daughter last year — his second marriage — and his younger wife was at her father’s house on the night of the strike. Officials quoting different accounts say Baitullah was visiting his wife in the upper portion of the house when it was hit.

The Taliban, as per the standard operating procedure, threw an immediate cordon around the site of the missile strike, but unlike in the past, the cordon was five kilometres wider than the usual practice and no one was allowed either to enter or leave the area.

A shura of senior Taliban commanders was called in Karama in the Ladha sub-division on Wednesday evening to take stock of the situation following the missile strike and telephone access to Zangara was blocked.

Some officials now privately claim with a degree of confidence that the TTP chief had been killed along with his wife — their confidence level in the authenticity of their assessment hovers between 60 to 85 to 95 per cent.

That the Taliban have neither confirmed nor denied reports and rumours doing the round tends to lend more credence to their assessment. ‘We think that he is no more’, said one senior official.

The Taliban shura is reportedly currently meeting to make a possible announcement and appoint a successor.

These circles insist that any formal announcement has been withheld till the TTP shura agrees on a consensus candidate to succeed Baitullah and the names of Hakimullah Mehsud, Azmatullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman Mehsud are already being mentioned as possible candidates for the slot.

But there are those who continue to believe that the TTP chief is alive and kicking and that Friday’s shura meeting has been convened by Baitullah himself to assure his comrades that he was unharmed.

After all, this is not the first time reports of Baitullah’s death have surfaced, the sources said.

In September, 2008, a newspaper reported Baitullah’s death due to kidney failure. Some government officials endorsed these reports, attributing their assessment to the mysterious disappearance of the TTP chief to hush up rumours that were demoralising his fighting cadres.

But weeks later, not only did Baitullah resurface, he also hosted a feast to celebrate his second marriage.