Pakistan says it is investigating unconfirmed reports of a deadly
shooting between two rival Taliban commanders seeking to replace the
group's leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was allegedly killed in a U.S.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Saturday the reports suggest a fight broke out during a meeting (shura) between Wali-ur-Rehman and Hakimullah Mehsud, and that one of them is dead.
But another Taliban commander, Noor Sayed, denied there had been any such confrontation.
The succession meeting was reportedly held in the semi-autonomous
tribal region of South Waziristan bordering Afghanistan, where
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says Baitullah Mehsud
was killed Wednesday.
Qureshi said authorities plan to travel to Mehsud's stronghold to try to obtain 100 percent confirmation of his death.
Mehsud commanded Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, a network of at least 13
groups. He claimed responsibility for a spate of suicide bombings
He was also accused of being behind the assassination of former Prime
Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, a charge he denied.
News organizations reported unnamed Taliban sources as saying Mehsud
was killed and quickly buried in the remote, Taliban-held area of
Nargusai. But a senior Taliban commander denied that Mehsud had been
killed in the missile strike.
The United States put a $5 million bounty on Mehsud, who it says had close ties to al-Qaida operatives.