Pakistani Taliban Chief Killed In U.S. Drone Strike | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Pakistani Taliban Chief Killed In U.S. Drone Strike

The head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike, U.S. and Taliban officials tell NPR and other news organizations.

"We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack," a senior Taliban commander was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The Associated Press reports that "a senior U.S. intelligence official confirmed the strike overnight, saying the U.S. received positive confirmation Friday morning that he had been killed." The news agency said the CIA and the White House declined to comment.

An NPR producer in Islamabad, citing Pakistani intelligence sources, reports that Mehsud was in North Waziristan to attend a meeting at a mosque in the Darpa Dandakhel area of Miranshah when he was killed.

It's worth pointing out that in the past, initial reports of senior al-Qaida and Taliban leaders being killed in drone strikes have frequently proved wrong.

The death of Mehsud "would be a major blow to the group that comes just a day after the [Pakistani] government said it started peace talks with the militants," the AP says.

Mehsud, "believed to be behind a failed car bombing in New York's Times Square in 2010 as well as brazen attacks inside Pakistan, was widely reported to have been killed in 2010, but later resurfaced. The tribal areas where the drone attacks occur are dangerous, making it difficult for journalists to independently confirm information," according to the AP.

The BBC says four missiles were fired from the drone at a vehicle used by Mehsud. However, The New York Times reports that Mehsud was killed "at compound that had been built for Mr. Mehsud about a year ago, and which he had used intermittently since then."

The BBC says:

"Four other people were killed in the strike, including two of Mehsud's bodyguards, intelligence sources say.

"Several previous claims of his death, made by US and Pakistani intelligence sources, have proven untrue."

Reuters reports:

"Hakimullah Mehsud was one of Pakistan's most wanted men with a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head. He led an increasingly violent insurgency from a secret hideout in North Waziristan, the Taliban's mountainous stronghold on the Afghan border."

Update at 7:00 p.m. ET. NSC 'Not In A Position To Confirm':

National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden tells NPR: "We have seen the reports that Hakimullah Mahsud may have been killed in Pakistan. We are not in a position to confirm those reports, but if true, this would be serious loss for the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Wounded Bull-Runner: 'If You Run Long Enough, You Get Gored'

Bill Hillmann, a writer from Chicago, contributed to the book Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona. He was gored at this year's running of the bulls in that city, but says he plans to return.
NPR

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
NPR

Congress' Latest Death Match Involves A Bank You've Never Heard Of

The business lobby is pushing hard for the survival of the Export-Import Bank, which has supported U.S. exports for 80 years. Some House GOP leaders, though, think it's time to kill the bank.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.