Hakimullah surfaces; vows to strike Pak, US targets

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Islamabad:  The new Tehrik-e-Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud appeared in a video footage telecast on Monday, vowing to strike US and Pakistani interests to avenge the killing of his slain leader Baitullah Mehsud and American drone attacks on the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

His appearance in front of a select group of reporters in the South Waziristan tribal area ended speculation over his reported death in a contest for leadership of the Pakistan Taliban, sparked by Baitullah's killing in a drone strike.

Pakistani and US intelligence officials have been claiming he was killed in a clash with rivals in the wake of Baitullah's death.

He vowed to avenge Baitullah's killing by striking back at Pakistan and the US.

Reports of Hakimullah's first public appearance since he took over as head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan reached Islamabad hours after a suicide bomber struck a UN office, killing four persons.

Hakimullah met only five journalists from his Mehsud clan in South Waziristan, BBC reported. TV news channels reported the meeting was held at Sararogha, an area that has witnessed several drone attacks.

The clandestine meeting with the reporters on Sunday was held on the condition that it could be reported only today. A few other journalists were invited but did not go for security reasons, BBC reported.

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