Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek-e-Taliban) responsible for a wave of suicide attacks across Pakistan, was killed in a missile strike fired by a CIA Predator drone according to Pakistani officials. Mehsud, one of Pakistan’s most wanted terrorists, was widely regarded the mastermind of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The U.S. considered Mehsud less of a priority than Taliban operatives active in Afghanistan but nevertheless placed a $5 million bounty on his head back in March. CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies increased their efforts against Mehsud because they were concerned of the increasing brazenness of his attacks and the possibility that the Pakistani Taliban could destabilize Pakistan, a country considered integral to the U.S. war against Islamist extremists.
The U.S. has not confirmed that Mehsud was killed. American officials are conducting an investigation, including DNA tests, to see if the individual killed in the missile strike was indeed Mehsud. Pakistan and U.S. officials have confirmed that Mehsud’s second wife was killed in the blast.
U.S. counterintelligence official claims it is increasingly likely that Mehsud was killed
Pakistan Taliban confirm Mehsud is dead
[Drone airstrike video]