US not openly admitting to Mehsud's killing to avoid confirmation of longstanding Pak claims

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Washington, Mar. 1 (ANI): While top Pakistani and US sources have confirmed that Pak-Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain have been killed in US drone attacks, US official are refraining from admitting it on record, as it would confirm longstanding claims that Washington is not interested in targeting Taliban fighters who are fighting Pakistani security forces.

Mehsud was hit within 72 hours after the release of a confessional video of Jordanian doctor Human Khalil Abu-Mulal al Balawi, who killed seven CIA agents in Khost province of Afghanistan on December 30, The News reports.

Since the video featuring Mehsud and Balawi was released on January 9, and the TTP chief was killed in a drone attack on Jan 13, Pakistani officials concluded that Hakimullah was under US surveillance.

A top Pakistani official says that US forces were given information on Mehsud five times before the CIA massacre but they never acted swiftly, which eventually allowed him to escape.

"If the video of Human Khalil Abu-Mulal al Balawi sitting with Hakimullah had not been released, he might have been even alive today," said a top Pakistani official.

US officials also confirmed that Mehsud was severely injured in the drone attack in Shaktoi and a doctor was kidnapped from Hangu for treating the TTP chief.

However, they refuse to comment on whether Mehsud had been under surveillance all along. (ANI)

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