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Pakistan: Baitullah Mehsud Possibly Killed

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Law, Politics, Religion, War & Conflict

As the news [1] of the death of Baitullah Mehsud [2], the Taliban warlord and the most wanted man in Pakistan emerged, people received it with a sense of relief and some did not want to believe. The delay in the official confirmation [3] caused much apprehension about his death.

Nevertheless the possibility of Baitullah Mehsud being killed triggered a wide range of reactions. The mainstream media kept airing in depth analysis of Mehsud's life. Here's what the Pakistani blogosphere is buzzing about:

Junaid Khan at Pro-Pakistan announced the death with his post “Baitullah Mehsud killed in drone strike [4]” and gave a detailed round up of Mehsud's life:

There are reports coming in that the Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud may be dead after a reported drone attack, a US official said on Thursday. If confirmed, the death of Mehsud would be a coup for Washington, which has placed a five-million-dollar bounty on his head and branded him “a key Al Qaeda facilitator” in Pakistan’s tribal belt.

An YouTube video [5] uploaded by Istreamnews shows him and his possible hideout:

Zaheer Iqbal Naru at Engine Hour [6] expresses his doubts:

I doubt if this will bring an end to the long strain of seemingly desperate unending suicidal attacks in my homeland Pakistan.

What is taking so long to confirm his death?

(I heard it on TV) TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) and the Government of Pakistan (unofficial) have confirmed his death already.

Adil Najam at All Things Pakistan questions: “Baitullah Mehsud: Is He Dead? What Now? [7]

The more important question that should also be asked, one this is confirmed, is: If he is dead, then what?

Baitullah Mahsud had become the visible (without really being visible) name to identify with the Taliban’s war on Pakistan. Even if deaths that he and his organization claim (proudly) to have been responsible for are counted, he has been responsible for killing more Pakistanis (nearly all Pakistani Muslims) than just about any other enemy of Pakistan in recent years. But that does not mean that his departure alone would bring an end to the Taliban war on Pakistan.

Who will rise next? Do we know what the next level of the chain of command is? Do we know where? Do we have a strategy to deal with them before they, too, become larger than life?

It seems that the death of Baitullah Mehsud will undoubtedly be a big blow to the Taliban forces. However once confirmed there is a lot more that needs to be tackled. On my own blog [8] I discussed the varying reactions of Baitullah Mehsud's possible death:

The most interesting fact surrounding Baitullah is his death from a drone attack, and if the incident changes the majorities perspective.  […] Even though the authorities continued to publicly condemn the drone attacks, many analyst disclosed a mutual agreement. The targeting of Baitullah Mehsud highlights the closely knitted intelligence networking between the US and Pakistani authorities.

The post goes on:

We must remember that the Waziristan operation was tagged as a “decisive showdown” by the army, and Baitullah’s death is no doubt the curtain raiser. Now that Baitullah is no more the end seems more realistic and attainable.