News / Asia

    Pakistani Taliban Leader Killed in Drone Strike

    FILE - Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, killed by a suspected U.S. drone strike, sits with other millitants, South Waziristan, Oct. 4, 2009.
    FILE - Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, killed by a suspected U.S. drone strike, sits with other millitants, South Waziristan, Oct. 4, 2009.
    The leader of the Pakistani Taliban has been killed in a drone strike. Hakimullah Mehsud was one of the most wanted men in Pakistan and a top target for the CIA-led drone campaign aimed at crushing the militant group. His death Friday deals a serious blow to the militant organization, and analysts say it is a huge success for the United States, and it likely will further fragment what is already a divided group.  

    Pakistan intelligence agencies officials confirmed to VOA that Mehsud had been killed in a drone attack in North Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold in the mountainous northwest tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

    Mehsud was believed to have been behind a number of attacks on U.S. personnel in Afghanistan.
     
    Author and analyst Ahmed Rashid said Mehsud’s death also will deal a lethal blow to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s attempts to broker a lasting peace with the militants.
     
    “Because after this killing the Taliban are going to take revenge, there are going to be a series of bomb blasts across the country, I'm sure, and they will reject any idea of talks, so he will then have to sit down and adopt a new strategy," said Rashid.

    The news of Mehsud’s death came just one day after Sharif announced during a visit to London that talks had started with the Taliban. Sharif had made negotiating an end to the decade-long violent insurgency a cornerstone of his political platform.
     
    Taliban officials, calling Mehsud a martyr, said his funeral will be Saturday in North Waziristan. Analyst Rashid did not think the Americans would try to target the ceremony in another drone strike, despite the likely presence of many top militant commanders.

    "No, I do not think so, I do not think anything like that will happen, and I am sure the Pakistani military will be also trying to tell the Americans to hold back, let the funeral rites be done, in a proper way, even though a lot of senior Taliban leaders will be gathering. I think it would be a huge mistake if there were an attack on the funeral," said Rashid.

    Mehsud was reported to have been killed once before, in 2010, but later resurfaced. The Taliban leader’s death, and that of at least four others Friday, follows the killing of Mehsud’s second-in-command in a drone strike in May.
     
    He had been on the U.S. most wanted list for conspiring to murder Americans in Afghanistan, and carried a $5-million bounty on his head.
     
    Rashid warned the Taliban would not let his death pass quietly. "There will be a wave of violence, and a lot of casualties as the Taliban take revenge and they may decide now to carry out assassinations of prominent figures, and the real fear is that also it could spread, the violence and the bombings could spread to cities where they have not taken place so far."

    Thousands of Pakistani civilians and security forces have died, and thousands more have been displaced, as a result of militant violence.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    by: Romeo Tun
    November 03, 2013 8:59 AM
    The drone attack send this clear message: " There is no safe haven for the extremists" I really don't think,The Pakistan gov. want to have religious extremists in their country. But they are 'lame' enough to send this kind of clear message to Taliban.
    And I think that peace negotiation with those religious fanatics are just a waste of time. For crying out loud, those fanatics are even denying a girl's basis right to have education. How can you build peace with those fanatics. After all, it is not peace that they want. They only want their disturbing law( surely, disturbing for us who believe in free will,choice and speech for all genders) to be in full force.

    by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
    November 02, 2013 3:49 PM
    I am sure the Taliban will call Hakimullah Mehsud "a martyr," vow, revenge, and kill with revenge bombings more innocent civilians. Would they call those civilians "martyrs" too? No! Obviously, then, innocent civilians killed by outlaws do not qualify for "martyrdom" nor for a comfortable after-life in "The Kingdom of God!" Their killers, Mehsud included, are supposed to do! But those who believe that have probably read the Holy Koran upside down!

    Here is an example: The shooting of the Pakistani girl Matala for going to school, and the bombing of other schools by the Taliban in Pakistan. In Taliban's opinion, girls cannot go to school - because the Koran prohibits that. But Prophet Mohammed said this: "The ink of the teacher is more sacred that the blood of the martyr," on quote!

    The Pakistani Taliban have a serious problem: Islamic and Koranic ignorance taught by militant Mullah's in the madrassas that are contrary to Prophet Mohammed's teaching. And that ignorance won't bring them "martyrdom!" Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    In Response

    by: Z from: Melbourne
    November 02, 2013 6:23 PM
    Great post
    In Response

    by: Manoj Sharma from: UK
    November 02, 2013 5:37 PM
    The comments made shows ignorance of Quran and teachings of hatred against all infidels. Kindly google quran and read it. Sharia is the barbaric law which has to be implemented worldwide is religious duty of all muslims. If you have any doubts find your muslim friend and ask them if they believe stoning is fit punishment and if apostasy should be punished by death. You will be surprised (Though they may lie also using Taqiyaa which is licence for them to lie for benefit of Islam to infidels). Islam is one and there is no moderate version as others would like to believe. Pakistan by condemning death of Talibani is showing its true intolerant Islamic nature and that's why Its a such a big headache of peace loving countries like India and its the biggest exporter of terror worldwide. Islam would knock your door for Sharia if you all remain ignorant of true nature of Islam. www.politicalislam.com

    by: daniel from: usa
    November 02, 2013 3:16 PM
    If I lived in Pakistan I too might fight the invaders. Those who bombed the world trade center all lived in Egypt, but due to their role with Israel, we not only dont attack them, but we even give them billions.
    If you lived in Pakistan and there were foreigners invading your country, would you fight?
    No doubt from our standards, they are fanatics, but it is their country and their way of life, and though we might disagree with them, it is not okay to kill them for those differences.
    If we were there, purely as the peacemaker we claimed to be, why aren't we better respected in the area? My suspicion is that we really are the peacemaker we claim to be, but the drones have ruined our reputation by killing funeral processions, and wedding parties.

    by: Sardar Khan
    November 02, 2013 1:40 PM
    It is impossible to convince terrorist americans,what a terrible mistakes are they doing in killing him?It will make him a hero instead a villain.What a foolish act?
    In Response

    by: Billy boy from: Planet Earth
    November 02, 2013 3:18 PM
    There's an old expression you should learn- cut the head off the snake and the followers scatter.

    by: confidential from: usa
    November 02, 2013 1:32 PM
    Hope they hit the funeral and the gathering to select his replacement.

    by: Charlie from: California
    November 02, 2013 1:22 PM
    What at first seems like a win might be the opposite. Pakistan is the most fragile of the nuclear states. The US and its' allies knew the Pakistanis were talking to this guy looking for peaceful solutions but we must not have wanted that to succeed or something else in his resume needed to be addressed. But I think the stability of Pakistan and the peace within that huge country are more important than revenge for attacks made during our failed and ending mission to change Afghanistan. We may regret it, soon, not later.

    by: Stephen from: Texas
    November 02, 2013 8:59 AM
    Absolutely attack the funeral. Simply because the enemy is comparatively impotent against their chosen enemy is no reason for restraint. The US did not choose to be enemies with the Taliban. Before 9/11 I would never have even considered such a position. But America is the Great Melting Pot. America has absorbed the culture that attacked us. Our ways have changed forever. America has much good to offer, as learned from other societies. America also has much evil to inflict on the world, as learned from other cultures. America, unlike the Middle East, does not yet have ancestral enemies. That is something America has yet to accept from the Middle East. The Japanese War was concluded using the ethics of Japan. The MIddle East war will be concluded using the ethics of the Middle East. To do otherwise would be an insult to the Middle East.

    by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
    November 02, 2013 7:43 AM
    What goes around, comes around Mehsud. Karma. No tears here.

    by: Hovhannes from: Montevideo
    November 02, 2013 3:45 AM
    Good riddance.

    by: Jimoh from: Nigeria
    November 01, 2013 4:59 PM
    A taliban leader has been killed, by a us drone attack fine, but after so much try and error strike with more than hundred of innocent civilian death on their sleep for the target of one man. I have a question for the Americans, how do they see the life of those innocent souls killed. In as much as i hate the taliban and their ideology ,the issue of killing of innocent soul needs to be stop.
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