Pak Taliban chief Mehsud killed

US drone attack claimed terrorists wife too

Pak Taliban chief Mehsud killed

Pak Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud speaks to reporters in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal region in this May 24, 2008 file photo. Reuters

Quoting intelligence input, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “Authorities are going to the site of the missile strike to verify the Taliban leader’s death. According to my information, this news is correct and he (Mehsud) has been taken out,” he said.

“Our reports are based on the internal intelligence input. We will be 100 per cent sure when we get the physical verification,” Qureshi told reporters on the sidelines of an official function here.

The US drone fired two missiles at the compound of Mehsud’s father-in-law, a cleric named Malik Ikramuddin, on Wednesday. 

Earlier reports had said Ikramuddin’s daughter, who is Mehsud’s second wife, was killed along with some militants.

Though Pakistani ministers and the US officials were trying to get a verification, TV channels quoted sources in the tribal areas as saying that the Shura or the supreme council of the Pakistani Taliban, had met on Thursday and would gather again possibly to chose Mehsud’s successor.

New chief

Taliban might own up 35-year-old Mehsud’s death only after choosing a new chief for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella of militant factions.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government had received information that Mehsud was killed in a drone attack in the tribal belt, “but we are awaiting official confirmation.” Malik made it clear that whether Mehsud was dead or alive, the military would continue its action till the Taliban’s whole network is destroyed.

Big success

Mehsud’s death is a big success for both Pakistan and the US, which has announced a $5-million bounty on his head. Pakistan had also offered a bounty of $615,000.

The burly al-Qaeda-linked warlord has been the target of an intense manhunt for months and has reportedly narrowly escaped previous attacks.

TV channels quoted intelligence officials as saying that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief, charged with plotting the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and a spate of suicide attacks across the country, had been killed in the CIA missile attack and his body buried near Nardusai village, deep inside the Taliban-controlled area. The Dawn News channel reported that Mehsud’s funeral prayers were held in Narkosa village.
In Mehsud’s death, the US missile strikes have found one of their most high-value targets till date.


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