ABC: “Strong indication” that Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud is dead in U.S. airstrike; Update: Mehsud’s alive, says U.S. intel official

posted at 5:44 pm on August 6, 2009 by Allahpundit

Biiiiig fish, if true. Word of the drone strike broke yesterday with reports that a missile had hit his father-in-law’s house, killing one of Mehsud’s wives and an unidentified second person. A family member swore that Mehsud himself wasn’t there, but ABC’s got a hot lead:

“There is strong indication” that Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike Wednesday, a senior administration official told ABC News…

A Pakistani official confirmed the report but said they are awaiting 100 percent confirmation and DNA tests.

U.S. officials say they do not have physical evidence yet but there are “indicators” and they are hopeful about obtaining DNA tests. A CIA drone targeted the house of Mehsud’s second father-in-law, Akramud Din, Wednesday.

I e-mailed Bill Roggio, who says he hasn’t heard anything from his sources and that the Taliban would likely have announced this already if it were true. This wouldn’t be the first false alarm about this turd either; read my post on the last one, from last September, to see just how big a fish he is/was. Pakistan’s made killing him a top priority since mid-June, after the Taliban started to encroach on Islamabad. The drone strike that killed 60 jihadis at a Taliban funeral eight days later was likely aimed at him, as of course was the strike on his father-in-law’s home.

While we wait for more news, here’s Obama counterterror czar John Brennan declaring the global war on terror over and the “war on Al Qaeda” officially begun. Where Iran or Hezbollah or Hamas fits into the new matrix, I don’t know yet. My guess is that Brennan doesn’t either. Click the image to watch.

Update: Whether Mehsud is dead or not, the fact that he’s under such intense fire these days shows how much power Pakistani intelligence has over jihadist kingpins. This filthbag ran around unmolested for years; then, suddenly, after threatening Islamabad this year, his whereabouts became sufficiently well known that he ended up dodging missiles every other week and might finally be dead less than two months after Pakistan went after him in earnest. I wonder how long it would take to dismantle Al Qaeda if ISI jumped into the effort with both feet. A year? Six months?

Update: Roggio is forever breaking my heart.

“Baitullah is alive,” one official old The Long War Journal. “We’re aware of the reports that he might have been killed and we are looking into it, but we don’t believe he was killed.”…

Witnesses on the scene immediately said that Baitullah was not among those killed. He reportedly visited his wife but left an hour prior to the attack…

The Taliban have not issued a statement to confirm or deny Baitullah’s death. In the past, the Taliban and al Qaeda have released martyrdom statements upon the death of their senior leaders.

Reports of senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in Pakistan have been highly unreliable. In the past, Al Qaeda leaders Ayman al Zawahiri, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, Abu Obaidullah Al Masri, Adam Gadahn, Ibn Amin, and Rashid Rauf have been reported killed in strikes, but these men have later resurfaced. Sa’ad bin Laden was reported killed is now thought to be alive. And Abu Khabab al Masri was reported killed several times before he finally was killed during a July 2008 strike.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Is the flag on the White House at half staff?

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 7, 2009 at 3:21 AM

Taliban confirms: Mehsud is dead.

Phoenician on August 7, 2009 at 7:15 AM

Yep. Sky News has it.

Adios, a-hole. Good shooting, boys. And from CONUS, no less.

Pablo on August 7, 2009 at 8:40 AM

News, (multiple sources), are still saying Mehsud has gone completely carbon neutral, and is frolicking in paradise with his virgins. Might want to update this post.

DngrMse on August 7, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Update: Whether Mehsud is dead or not, the fact that he’s under such intense fire these days shows how much power Pakistani intelligence has over jihadist kingpins. This filthbag ran around unmolested for years; then, suddenly, after threatening Islamabad this year, his whereabouts became sufficiently well known that he ended up dodging missiles every other week and might finally be dead less than two months after Pakistan went after him in earnest.

Damn you Obama! Why must you weaken our efforts in the war against Al Qaeda!

Oh wait…

orange on August 7, 2009 at 11:13 AM

When does one ratchet down the rhetoric? When one has accomplished its main objective. For instance, as Hezbollah will likely lose political power in Lebanon in the upcoming years, the volume and tone of the rhetoric coming from our politicians can quiet down. With a marginalized enemy in Lebanon, there is no need for harsh rhetoric. Nowhere did I say that the war of words needs to be ongoing, and it certainly doesn’t have to be ongoing.

So we win a war as soon as people in Lebanon choose – independently of our actions – to support other leaders? That seems like an odd formulation for a war. Why does a political struggle that ends in a change of power in a foreign nation have to be framed as a “war” that we’re in?

I merely said that Obama (stupidly) calculatingly changed the title as a means to distance himself from the Bush Administration’s War on Terror in not so many words. This silly change only gives the impression that we are in weakened state since we are “ratcheting down the rhetoric.”

Actually, we’re ratcheting up the rhetoric against Al Qaeda by specifically naming our target. Why are you against that?

While this is a stupid argument, you must understand that strong rhetoric is an excellent substitute for 60,000 US troops in your backyard.

Shock the Monkey on August 6, 2009 at 11:23 PM

I dont understand that point at all. I live in the US. Are you saying that because Obama is choosing more precise language to define our opponent in this war, that means he’s going to send troops onto US soil (which is illegal, of course)? Please explain.

orange on August 7, 2009 at 11:24 AM

While this is a stupid argument, you must understand that strong rhetoric is an excellent substitute for 60,000 US troops in your backyard.

Shock the Monkey on August 6, 2009 at 11:23 PM
I dont understand that point at all. I live in the US. Are you saying that because Obama is choosing more precise language to define our opponent in this war, that means he’s going to send troops onto US soil (which is illegal, of course)? Please explain.

orange on August 7, 2009 at 11:24 AM

What I mean by “this is a stupid argument, is exactly that…this is a stupid argument. I don’t understand what you meant by invading U.S. soil (let alone how you came to that conclusion). I just meant that using rhetoric to our enemies is a superior alternative than actually sending troops. I do not know how you took what I said out of context and derived some insane meaning not once but twice. I’m not going to argue the finer points because you simply don’t understand. The fact of the matter is this Orange: changing the war on terror to the war on al-qaeda is nothing but a stupid rhetorical device. It does not mean that we are actually focusing more or less energy on al-qaeda than before. Like I said, it was a stupid political calculation. We are still going to be aiding our allies (covertly and overtly) in Israel and Lebanon who are dealing with Hezbollah and Hamas. The only difference is because of the name switch, it appears to have been done more as a sign of weakness than “refocus.” While we are still fighting all of the terrorists, “refocusing” the name provides hardly any, although some comfort to our enemies who can now believe they are not in our sights.

The end.

Shock the Monkey on August 7, 2009 at 2:28 PM

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