The Many Deaths of Hakimullah Mehsud

Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan Leader Still Not Dead, Despite Reports

They say cats have nine lives. It’s not clear how many Tehreek-e Taliban (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud has, but it’s at the very least more than four.

Hoping to stem reports of his death, Hakimullah met at an undisclosed location with members of the press, and a video clip showing the healthy-looking militant was broadcast around the nation.

Over the weekend US officials declared of the reclusive TTP leader “we’re pretty clear that we think he’s dead.” If that sounds familiar you’re not alone, Hakimullah was also declared killed in early September, and twice in August.

The first of Hakimullah’s many deaths occurred in early August, when he and fellow TTP commander Wali Rehnman reportedly killed one another. Rehman came forward almost immediately and insisted the fight never happened, Hakimullah did the same days later.

The persistent rumors of Hakimullah’s death seemed to center around a conspiracy theory involving his somewhat similar looking brother Kalimullah, who supposedly had been making public appearances in Hakimullah’s place. Kalimullah was reportedly killed last week in a US drone attack.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.