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New Pakistani Taliban chief may be dead: US official

Newly anointed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud may have been killed recently during clashes with a rival faction, a senior US counterterrorism official said on Saturday.

world Updated: Oct 03, 2009 20:18 IST

Newly anointed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud may have been killed recently during clashes with a rival faction, a senior US counterterrorism official said on Saturday.

"There's reason to believe that Hakimullah may have died recently -- perhaps as the result of factional in-fighting within the Pakistani Taliban," the official told AFP, noting the warlord's death has yet to be definitively confirmed.

Hakimullah was tapped to lead the group after his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed by a missile fired from a CIA-operated drone aircraft on August 5.