Days after Pakistan's Taliban leader reportedly died in a US airstrike, conflicting stories are emerging about a power struggle in the militant group, the New York Times reports. Waliur Rehman, a commander who had wanted to lead the Taliban, denies killing a young aide to the former leader in a shootout. But Pakistan officials insist that Hakimullah and Baitullah Mehsud, the aide and ex-chief, are both dead.
In a call to Reuters, Rehman insisted they are alive. “He definitely will call you and tell you everything,” Rehman said of Hakimullah Mehsud. Analysts say a Taliban power struggle could give al-Qaeda greater influence; the two have become increasingly intertwined. “When we need something, they take care of us, and when they need something, we help them,” a Taliban fighter says of al-Qaeda.