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Pakistan, Taliban battle over militant chief's death

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Almost a week after Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, was allegedly killed in a United States drone attack on his father-in-law's house last week, conflicting reports about his condition continue to circulate. On Tuesday, the Pakistani government challenged the Taliban to prove their chief was alive. A Taliban commander hit back, daring Islamabad to prove he was dead. The uncertainty is raising questions about the Pakistani government's ability to handle the militant threat in the country's tribal belt.

A spokesman of Mr. Mehsud's group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told CNN on Tuesday that the militant was still alive and that the government was trying to bait him.

Spokesman Maulvi Umar said Mehsud is ill, but safe at an undisclosed location. Once Mehsud is better, he will speak to reporters, Umar said….
Mr. Umar accused the government of spreading propaganda. "The government is playing a game and trying to trick Baitullah into coming out of hiding by using this propaganda so they can kill him," he said.

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