(Pashto: حکیم اللہ محسود)
Hakimullah Mehsud in 2009, South Waziristan
Bannu, South Waziristan, Pakistan
|Died||1 November 2013 (aged 33–34)
Dande Darpa Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan
|Years of service||2000s–2013|
|Battles/wars||War in North-West Pakistan|
|Relations||Qari Hussain (cousin, deceased)|
Hakimullah Mehsud (Pashto/Urdu: حکیم الله محسود; c. 1979 − 1 November 2013), born Jamshed Mehsud (جمشید محسود) and also known as Zulfiqar Mehsud (ذو الفقار محسود), was the emir of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He was deputy to commander Baitullah Mehsud and one of the leaders of the militant group Fedayeen al-Islam prior to the elder Mehsud's death in a CIA drone missile strike.
He had been the TTP's commander in the Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai agencies of Pakistan. He was described as being born about 1979 and a cousin of Qari Hussain. He was known to be a young and aggressive field commander, who previously served as a driver and was very close to Baitullah Mehsud. Hakimullah Mehsud maintained ties to al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and various Pakistani jihadist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Reports initially indicated he was fatally wounded on 14 January 2010 by a US drone attack although two videos released by the TTP in 2010 and 2011 proved that he survived the attack. Mehsud was reported by Pakistani intelligence to have been killed by US drone strike on 12 January 2012. However, the Pakistani Taliban denied the claim. It was later confirmed by the group that he was killed in a drone strike on 1 November 2013.
Jamshed Mehsud joined his clansman Baitullah in jihad, initially as his bodyguard and aide. He adopted the nom de guerre Zulfiqar, then later took the name Hakimullah, meaning one who has knowledge. He gained a reputation within the Taliban for his battle skills with the AK-47 and the Toyota pick-up truck. One Taliban member told a BBC correspondent that at the time Hakimullah's reputed skills were second only to Nek Mohammad.
In 2004, he was made a spokesman. He organised a series of raids against US military convoys between the summer of 2007 and the spring of 2008 that forced the closure of the Khyber Pass six times. In 2008, he was given command of the Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram districts.
On 22 August 2009, Hakimullah Mehsud was appointed unanimously as the new leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban by a 42-member shura. Analysts cited by The Daily Times interpreted the appointment of the 28-year-old commander as a way to admit the death of Baitullah Mehsud although spokesmen for the group continued to vehemently deny his death, instead saying he was ill.
Pakistani news channels reported on 8 August 2009 that Hakimullah Mehsud was killed after shooting erupted between his camp and that of Wali-ur-Rehman during a shura to determine the successor to the slain Baitullah Mehsud. Interior Minister Rehman Malik could not confirm the death only that the fighting had occurred. On 10 August, a man claiming to be Hakimullah Mehsud called a Reuters reporter to declare that he and Baitullah were still alive. While the reporter was certain that the call was authentic, Pakistani officials awaited voice analysis results and stated that intercepted phone calls led to the intelligence of Hakimullah's death. Wali-ur-Rehman telephoned a Reuters reporter to say that Hakimullah is alive, and would be calling soon, and that the first shura where the shooting supposedly occurred never took place.
Hakimullah Mehsud appeared alongside suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi in an early January 2010 video that claimed responsibility for the Camp Chapman attack in retaliation for the death of Baitullah Mehsud.
Rewards for capture
On 2 November 2009 Pakistani authorities offered a Rs50 million ($600,000) reward for information that lead to the capture or killing of Hakimullah Mehsud. They offered the same reward for similar information regarding Wali-ur-Rehman and Qari Hussain and smaller rewards for 16 other TTP militants.
United States bounty
On 1 September 2010 the United States added the militant leader to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists and the TTP to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The FBI posted a reward of $5 million for information leading to his capture.
On 1 November 2013, a senior Taliban source confirmed that a US drone strike in Pakistan killed Mehsud in the village of Dande Darpa Khel in North Waziristan. Dande Darpa Khel was the site of the Dande Darpa Khel airstrike in 2008. The drone strike also killed two other militants, along with his uncle and cousin.
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Pakistani news channels were carrying unconfirmed reports that Hakimullah Mehsud, one of the movement's most powerful commanders, had been killed at a shura, or council meeting, held to decide who would succeed slain leader Baitullah Mehsud. "The infighting was between Wali-ur-Rehman and Hakimullah Mehsud,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters. "We have information that one of them has been killed. Who was killed we will be able to say later after confirming."
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|Leader of Pakistani Taliban