Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistani Taliban aides continue to refute Pakistani government claims that Beitullah Mehsud had likely been killed in last week's drone strike; a shoot-out reportedly occurred a Pakistani Taliban succession shura held over the weekend, attended by Beitullah Mehsud's deputy Hakimullah Mehsud and close advisor Wali-ur-Rehman; a group of militants reportedly attacked and clashed with Pakistani security forces on Monday who were en route to Mir Ali in North Waziristan; a Baloch separatist group spokesman confirmed that the group executed several Frontier Corps soldiers over the weekend who had been taken hostage recently, demanding that Pakistani forces withdraw from Quetta and release Baloch separatists.�
- Despite repeated assurances from both the U.S. and Pakistani governments that Beitullah Mehsud is very likely dead, senior Taliban leaders continue to deny it. Qari Hussein, Hakimullah Mehsud, and Maulvi Umar called Associated Press reporters Saturday to insist that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief is still alive. Neither side has so far produced concrete evidence to back up their claims.
- There are a number of rumors circulating concerning possible successors to the TTP leadership. Numerous sources have listed Hakimullah Mehsud--a former regional commander in the Kurram, Khyber, and Orakzai areas--and Wali-ur-Rehman--a close confidante of Beitullah's--as the frontline contenders, but pro-government militant commander Turkistan Bhittani has claimed that both Hakimullah and Rehman were killed in a dispute over the group's leadership that allegedly broke out at a shura meeting over the weekend. These claims were reportedly refuted when Hakimullah himself phoned Pakistan's GeoTV news to announce his own, and Beitullah's, continuing health.
- "Over a hundred militants" reportedly ambushed security forces en route to Mir Ali in North Waziristan on Monday. The attack prompted a gun battle which left five militants dead and three soldiers wounded. The government reportedly retaliated with a barrage of helicopter and artillery fire on suspected Taliban locations.
- A spokesman from the separatist Baloch Republican Army confirmed Saturday night that the group had executed four more of the policemen originally taken hostage on July 30th. "If the government does not withdraw FC from Quetta and release our men, we will kill the rest of the hostages in a couple of days," he announced to the media.�