Page last updated at 08:18 GMT, Monday, 3 May 2010 09:18 UK

Video shows Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud 'alive'


Hakimullah Mehsud referred to reports of his death as "propaganda"

Two videos have emerged which appear to show a top Pakistani Taliban leader alive, contradicting US claims he was killed in a US drone attack in January.

In the footage apparently recorded in April, Hakimullah Mehsud referred to reports of his death as propaganda, and threatened attacks on major US cities.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says if the video is verified it will end all speculation about his death.

US officials say there is no link to a failed weekend bomb attack in New York.

Police have dismissed claims by a Pakistani Taliban group that it was responsible for the failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in the city's Times Square.

New threat

The new nine-minute video, which was broadcast on Pakistani TV on Monday, showed Mr Mehsud sat between two armed, masked men.

Speaking in Pashto, but with English subtitles, he said: "On the 4th day of April 2010, I give good news to the Muslim [world] about being alive and healthy."

A network of hardline Islamic groups threatening to destabilise Pakistan
Main faction, the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is led by Hakimullah Mehsud
TTP formed in 2002 when Pakistan invaded tribal areas to target foreign militants spilling across Afghan border
Blamed for a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks in Pakistan
Based in tribal areas in the north-west - main strongholds have been North and South Waziristan with links to Punjab

He referred to reports of his death as lies and propaganda.

A second video showed a still image of Mr Mehsud next to a map of the United States, with explosions marked in three locations.

The map was not detailed enough to identify the targets.

A voice purported to be that of Mr Mehsud is heard saying that the group's main targets are now US cities, and that "good news will be heard within some days or weeks".

US and Pakistani officials had been confident until recently that Mr Mehsud was killed in a US missile attack in the remote tribal region of north-west Pakistan.

But last week Pakistani intelligence officials said they believed Mr Mehsud was only wounded - although his authority within the Taliban had diminished.

Claims by US and Pakistani officials that Hakimullah Mehsud had been killed always lacked credibility, the BBC's M Ilyas Khan says.

The Taliban has always denied his death but our correspondent says it is not known why it took them so long to issue such a video.

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