Taliban leader Khalid alive and well

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Islamabad, Aug.4 (ANI): One of Pakistan's most feared Taliban leaders Umer Khalid is alive and well, contradicting government claims that he was killed months ago, reports Sky News.Khalid, who is also known as Abdul Wali, was thought to have died in the Pakistani government's crackdown against extremists.

Sky News pictures, however, show him not only alive and well, but with four hostages whom he is threatening to kill unless the authorities free Taliban prisoners they are holding.

Khalid allowed himself to be filmed to disprove the official claims and apparently to initiate negotiations with the authorities.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in January that Khalid was among those killed in an attack on militant extremists in the Mohmand Agency, part of Pakistan's tribal areas.

The Taliban denied the claims at the time.

The footage - which was filmed within the last few days - shows Khalid relaxing and smiling with a group of young, armed men who form his fighting group.

He says he has 35,000 fighters under his control but this figure is impossible to verify.

Sky's cameraman is allowed to film the militant leader signing a paper giving his access to the four hostages.

The four hostages are sitting together in a line still wearing their security uniforms.

They belong to the Frontier Constabulary, which is the security force operating in the tribal areas. (ANI)

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