| GEO Pakistan|
| Pakistan casts doubt on new Pakistan Taliban leader|
| Updated at: 2124 PST, Tuesday, August 25, 2009|
ISTANBUL: Pakistan said on Tuesday it doubted the Pakistani Taliban had appointed a new leader following the reported killing of Baitullah Mehsud in a U.S. missile strike three weeks ago.
A Taliban commander announced on Saturday that Hakimullah Mehsud, a young fighter from the same tribe and who has a reputation for ferocity, was the movement's new chief.
But Pakistani intelligence officers insist Hakimullah was killed in a shoot-out with a rival after Baitullah's death.
There is strong suspicion Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, which groups 13 main factions, is riven with internal rivalry.
"My information is that there is no decision taken yet," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a news conference in Istanbul.
"There are a lot of claimants. There is confusion. We have to wait and see who the next chief is going to be."
Western governments with troops in neighbouring Afghanistan are watching to see if any new Pakistani Taliban leader would shift focus from fighting the Pakistani government and put the movement's weight behind the Afghan Taliban insurgency led by Mullah Mohammad Omar.