ISLAMABAD, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The new leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud, met with reporters in the country's northwest tribal areas for the first time since winning control of the militants, local media reported Monday.
His appearance ended speculation that he was killed in a leadership battle within the militant group sparked by the August slaying of his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, in a missile strike.
The Taliban militants has tapped Hakimullah to replace the group 's previous chief, Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in his South Waziristan stronghold on the Afghan border on Aug. 5.
Hakimullah Mehsud said his group would avenge the killing of Baitullah Mehsud and strike back at Pakistan and the United States for the increasing number of drone attacks in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.
Pakistani army say that its ongoing operations have severely dented the Taliban-led insurgency in the country's northwest. Military authorities in Pakistan believe that the gains the anti-insurgency campaign has made in the past few months, in and around the Swat valley, have weakened the Taliban militants and set the stage for ridding the country of them.
They say the killing of nearly 2,000 militants, including key commanders, and arrest of some of the top Taliban leaders in the Swat offensive have helped bring down terrorist attacks in the country, in recent months.
Meanwhile, a suicide bomber struck the UN's World Food Program (WFP) office in Islamabad, killing at least four people. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but police said that it is part of the series of terrorist acts.
Special Report: Pakistani Situation