Banned TTP says top leaders alive

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan denies reports that its top leaders were dead.

Peshawar: The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on Saturday brushed aside reports that its top leaders were dead, claiming its chief Hakimullah Mehsud and commander Qari Hussain -- best known as the master trainer of suicide bombers -- are alive.

The claim was made by Pakistani Taliban spokesman Tariq Azam in a statement issued to the media from an undisclosed location somewhere in the volatile North Waziristan Agency.

The Taliban will continue their fight against Pakistan security forces in the tribal region till they withdraw from the area, Azam said.

There have been numerous reports that Mehsud, Hussain and other key commanders have been killed in US drone strikes in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

The statement said that Mehsud, Hussain and other top leaders of the group are alive.