CIA air strike kills notorious Taliban leader

A senior Taliban commander has reported that the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed

Wednesday in a CIA missile strike on a farmhouse in South Waziristan. Both American and Pakistani officials have been cautious in their assessments. In Washington, officials reported there were “strong indications” Mehsud was dead. The Pakistani interior minister said “a lot of information is pouring in from that area but I’m unable to confirm unless I have solid evidence that he is dead.” Mehsud was the most notorious militant commander in Pakistan—much more so than even Osama bin Laden. According to some estimates, his organization, the Tehrik I Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commands up to 20,000 fighters. The U.S. put a $5 million bounty on his head and, in recent months, targeted him with covert strikes. Since Wednesday’s attacks, it has also been reported that the TTP plans to elect a successor. Mehsud’s most senior lieutenant is favoured to win.

The Guardian

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