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A U.S. defense official with knowledge of operations in the region said Mehsud poses a significant threat to U.S. troops as “his terrorist network has grown in size and he has much more capabilities than he did in the past.”

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of his work.

The official said Mehsud’s latest threat might be “more of a propaganda campaign” because Mehsud is “feeling the pressure on him, the bull’s-eye on his back. But you can never underestimate what these guys are capable of.”