Peshawar: The Pakistani Army said on Sunday that it was investigating reports that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died from injuries sustained in a US drone missile strike in mid-January.
The Army's announcement came shortly after Pakistani state television reported that Mehsud died in Orakzai, an area in Pakistan's northwest tribal region where he was reportedly being treated for his injuries.
"We have these reports coming to us," Army spokesman General Athar Abbas said. "We are investigating whether it is true or wrong."
A tribal elder said that he attended Mehsud's funeral in the Mamuzai area of Orakzai on Thursday. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Taliban.
Pakistani intelligence officials have said that Mehsud was targeted in a US drone strike in South Waziristan on January 14, triggering rumours that he had been injured or killed. The strike targeted a meeting of militant commanders in the Shaktoi area of South Waziristan.
Mehsud issued two audio tapes after the strike denying the rumours. But Pakistani intelligence officials said on Sunday that they have confirmation that the Taliban chief's legs and abdomen were wounded in the strike.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.
First Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010, 15:33