Friday, August 07, 2009

Developing Story: Baitullah Mehsud Is Dead

The Pakistani media is reporting that Baitullah Mehsud was killed on Wednesday. ISPR is still confirming the reports but has verified that Baitullah Mehsud, his family and close associates were specfically targeted during the week. Interestingly, the ISPR is cryptic about who actually targeted him; my guess is that it was the Americans. The Pakistani army for reasons best known to them has shown little impetus to really go after Mehsud.

Reports are also coming in through media sources that the leaders of the Tehreeq-e-Taliban Pakistan are currently meeting to appoint a successor. They were all present at Mehsud's funeral and have confirmed his death to the media.

Update 1:

The NYT is reporting that a CIA missile strike targeted Mehsud. According to the report:

By Thursday evening, American officials said they were growing increasingly confident that the Taliban leader was dead. Still, they cautioned that it may be weeks before they are certain, and they may never gain access to the remote location in South Waziristan to perform DNA tests.

A Taliban spokesman while confirming Mehsud's death has also stated that an American drone was responsible.

If Mehsud is in fact dead then that is a very positive development, however I fear that in the short term we may be faced with reprisal attacks.

Rehman Malik gave a brief statement that the government was collecting evidence and still waiting for confirmation. He went on to say that Baituallah Mehsud was the number one target for the Pakistani government and the army had been specifically mobilized against him.

Update 2:

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has confirmed the death of Baitullah Mehsud.

DawnNews reports that a successor to Mehsud is likely to be announced by the TTP Shura today; the likeliest candidates are Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud, both of whom were close aides of Baitullah Mehsud.

12 comments:

Ahsan said...

Yeah, that's what the Americans are saying too, albeit expressed in cautious terms:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/world/asia/07pstan.html?hp

FZ said...

Good riddance, hope they wipe out the whole lot.

saesneg said...

I'd do a post on this if I wasn't getting a train in the next half an hour...

There are varying reports that drones were involved in the assassination. Considering sentiment towards the "30,000" foot coward, could this one successful strike shift opinions on drone attacks in Pakistan?

Anonymous said...

Look at AKS all regularly posting and shit.. i suppose its the least you can do after driving away bubs

Majaz said...

They keep referring to him as "MR. MEHSUD" as if he was a foreign diplomat.

Guess MR. ZARDARI'S graph is gonna go way up now.

Tazeen said...

I will only believe when someone identifies his body as Mehsud's dead body. I have wasted enough time last year when I stayed up the whole of chand raat following mehsud's speculated death and he did not even die.

Hira S. said...

It would make me a lot happier if I was sure it'd make a difference. Maybe the successor will be even more radical than Baitullah Mehsud was?

It's sad how some things can't be settled without bloodshed.

JDèé said...

Jang also reportedly pointed out the place where TTP's elders and other militants were meeting for the jarga to appoint the successor. I sincerely hope the drone guys read that part.

Hamza said...

A couple of things:

1. It's too early to tell what impact Baitullah Mehsud's death will have. By all accounts, and the insurgency he has waged in Orakzai agency, Hakimullah Mehsud (one of his possible successors) is equally capable of causing a lot of trouble.

2. I really hope his death doesn't cause the military establishment to delay, or at worst, call off, the impending military operations in South Waziristan. Regardless of Baitullah's supposed death, the terror infrastructure in the Southern Waziristan region remains strong, the suicide bomb training camps untouched, and, as far as I have read, the region is so far out of the government's control that the Political Agent is based out of Bannu.

3. Finally, the Pakistani media, particularly the electronic press, needs to have an honest discussion of the efficacy of drone attacks. Based on their past efforts, the Pakistani military was either unable, or unwilling, to go after Baituallah Mehsud. Yet, this drone attack, at considerable cost to our "national sovereignty," has achieved what our military should have done a long time ago. So, I guess my question is: Do these drone attacks actually help Pakistan? Will this latest attack re-frame the debate about the importance of continuing or stopping drone attacks? I don't think it will, but it is a matter worth discussing.

Butters said...

If this is true, it is just as it should be. I knew this war was the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

They (CIA) should have figured out where his funeral was and bombed the shit out of the procession. Anybody they would have ended up killing would probably have been sympathetic towards this sick bastard and probably deserved it.

BBC said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8191105.stm