Pakistani Taliban leader killed?

posted at 11:30 am on January 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

It’s not the first time that reports arose of Hakimullah Mehsud’s death.  Two years ago almost to the day, the US thought they had killed the successor to Baitullah Mehsud in a drone strike, only to have Hakimullah show up in Taliban videos in 2010 and 2011.  News broke overnight that the US and Pakistan think the younger Mehsud may have joined the elder Mehsud in body temperature:

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, the militant movement that poses the gravest security threat to the country, was believed killed by aU.S. drone strike, four Pakistan intelligence officials told Reuters on Sunday.

The officials said they intercepted wireless radio chatter between Taliban fighters detailing how Hakimullah Mehsud was killed while travelling in a convoy to a meeting in the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.

The Pakistani Taliban deny that their leader was killed in the drone strike on January 12th, NTTAWWT, apparently:

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told reporters in the country’s northwest that reports of Mehsud’s death were false.

“There is no truth in reports about his death. However, he is a human being and can die any time. He is a mujahid and we wish him martyrdom,” he said.

Two unnamed senior Taliban commanders and close aides of Mehsud told The News daily that the Taliban chief was alive.

They said reports about his death were part of a “plan to provoke Hakimullah to surface and approach the media”.

Other Taliban sources in North Waziristan told the paper that the January 12 drone attack had killed nine people. The sources said a majority of those killed were Turkmen.

I doubt that the news came from a plan to get Mehsud to surface.  He was smarter than that in 2010, when he waited months to show his face in a propaganda video, and neither the US nor Pakistan would seriously think it would work on a second effort, if in fact that’s what they tried two years ago.

Pakistan would benefit from Mehsud’s martyrdom, as it would both weaken the Taliban organization and their ties to al-Qaeda.  Of course, that’s what they thought when Baitullah Mehsud got killed in a 2009 drone strike as well.  It did have some impact on their organization, but the rise of Hakimullah allowed the Taliban to regroup more quickly and effectively than first hoped. The question would be whether Hakimullah had an opportunity to groom a potential replacement that could accomplish that kind of unity in his absence — or whether, as a young man, he was inclined to do so and promote a potential rival for power.  If not, a successful drone strike on Hakimullah might very well be a disaster for the Pakistani Taliban.

Real Clear World notes that the Taliban’s denial was “far less assertive” than the one in 2010 after the US and Pakistan first claimed he was killed.  They may be scrambling to find Mehsud before getting more categorical about his status.  I suspect it might be months before we find out for sure.


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Murdered?

KOOLAID2 on January 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Drowned in urine?

MTLassen on January 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Incredible intelligence-gathering in the Obama Administration.

/sarc

Aizen on January 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM

That explains the black armbands being worn by congressional demorats.

Bishop on January 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Mehsud’s dead? Besides me, who’s grilling chicken tonight?

bigdicksplace on January 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I won’t believe it until there’s a DNA test proving his identity, or he’s registered to vote in Chicago.

Bigfoot on January 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I hope some Marines urinated on him.

wildcat72 on January 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM

New NEA backed art exhibit to open “Piss Taliban”

I wish (sigh)

Roy Rogers on January 16, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Twice the length of WWII and counting and we’re supposed to get excited about a prissy nibble?

kunegetikos on January 16, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Drowned in urine?

MTLassen on January 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I hope some Marines urinated on him.

wildcat72 on January 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM

The claim is only that he was killed by a drone strike. No telling what kind of payload the drone might’ve been carrying… ;)

Mr. Prodigy on January 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM

One less bribe for Obummer to pay.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Provoke him? You mean like saying, “You call that a beard? Your mother has a much thicker beard than that. I know because she was down at the corner of the dirt road and the goat path last night, unescorted, and she was showing her face to anyone who would give her one American dollar. That’s one ugly woman, even the beard can’t cover it up.”

trubble on January 16, 2012 at 12:03 PM

May I ask, why does any decent Afghan support the Taliban? They are a bunch of murderous thugs that make the NAZIs look like amateurs.

SC.Charlie on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

He’s hoping he got a magnetic bomb stuck up his undercarriage.

pedestrian on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

The reason he hasn’t decided whether he is dead yet is that he got a glimpse of his 72 virgins and they all look like Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosanne Barr, and dingy harry reed! I think he is having second thoughts and wants a another go at it.

Old Country Boy on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Another checkmark on Obama’s kill card?

Of course we know the dear leader would never ever use it as campaign talking point.

Flora Duh on January 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

I have one of those hats.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

May I ask, why does any decent Afghan support the Taliban? They are a bunch of murderous thugs that make the NAZIs look like amateurs.

SC.Charlie on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Do they really have any choice?

BallisticBob on January 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Great, now King Putt will be saying he personally put another murderer 6feet under, just like when the seal team got bin-laden. He disgusts me with every word!

angrymike on January 16, 2012 at 12:19 PM

SC.Charlie on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Fear. That’s how terrorism works….

MTLassen on January 16, 2012 at 12:21 PM

May I ask, why does any decent Afghan support the Taliban? They are a bunch of murderous thugs that make the NAZIs look like amateurs.

SC.Charlie on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Great question.

If you discuss affiliations with the Afghanis, they are steeped in tradition with regional and tribal loyalties. Most communities/homes fly flags describing such. (The flags are a bit more prominent in Iraq, but the tribal loyalties are stronger in Afghanistan) Most just fall into their politics based on those loyalties. And there are other factions that vie for political support. Probably second greatest would be the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin or “HIG” which is a faction of the Hezb-e-Islami These guys were big under the Soviets and then took a back seat to the Taliban after the Soviets were driven out. After we ousted the Taliban the HIG then had a better opportunity to try to extent it’s sphere of influence again. It’s a bit of generalization but the Taliban and these guys complete over degrees of ideology but are solid against the West. In the struggle for prominence in the region, they both strong arm the average Afghani who most likely would be satisfied to just live his or her life in peace without being bothered.

And it goes without saying the monstrous behavior that they subject folks to who don’t bend to their will. A 12 year old is featured in the news on another site for conducting his first beheading.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Allah has initiated a family plan for virgin rewards. If a martyr ends a male line of descendants by his sacrifice for the Allah-Moe team an extra contingent of recycled virgins will be alotted for each male family member.

Annar on January 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM

May I ask, why does any decent Afghan support the Taliban?

SC.Charlie on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

It’s the ultimate gravy train to have continual cash and in-kind bribes rain down upon them from a people who they know has not won a war in 67 years. It’s profitable that the “kinetic spending action” “entitlement” last forever. There is ZERO downside for siding with the T. They hold the Americans in contempt.

kunegetikos on January 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM

The claim is only that he was killed by a drone strike. No telling what kind of payload the drone might’ve been carrying… ;)

Mr. Prodigy on January 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM

I’d have the explosive wrapped in pig entrails.

wildcat72 on January 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM

It’s the ultimate gravy train to have continual cash and in-kind bribes rain down upon them from a people who they know has not won a war in 67 years.

kunegetikos on January 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Really?

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Excellent answer. Evil, whether it was the Communists in the old Soviet Union or the Taliban in today’s Afghanistan and Pakistan, can exist because the majority of average citizens tolerate and try to get along with it instead of fighting it.

The Taliban will only be defeated when enough average citizens in Afghanistan and Pakistan rise up and eliminate them. It will no doubt come with a tremendous sacrifice, but it appears to me life under the Taliban comes at a tremendous sacrifice as well.

I don’t think an outside power, no matter how large and powerful can do it for them.

MessesWithTexas on January 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Air raided?

BobMbx on January 16, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Mehsud’s dead? Besides me, who’s grilling chicken tonight?

bigdicksplace on January 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Chicken, hell! Pork spareribs!

Ward Cleaver on January 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Test?

Ward Cleaver on January 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Test?

Ward Cleaver on January 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Oh no. I haven’t had time to prepare.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Good news, except that VP Biden us all that we’re not really at war with the Taliban.

Good Lt on January 16, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Where is Gafftastic Joe Biden these days??? Is he still the Stimulus Sherrif??

Roy Rogers on January 16, 2012 at 1:44 PM

John Belushi never died, he just joined the taliban.
Why does he have a clam on his head?

Norky on January 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Drone attacks…ahhh who cares. At least we didn’t pour water over their heads.

CW on January 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM

These so called leaders are looking more and more too wet behind the ears. This is good.

jake49 on January 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

May I ask, why does any decent Afghan support the Taliban? They are a bunch of murderous thugs that make the NAZIs look like amateurs.

SC.Charlie on January 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

And despite that our idiot of a President seeks to make peace with them so they can take over Afghanistan again and murder more people.

dogsoldier on January 16, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Oh the writing that goes on here. So many one liners and so many smiles for us readers.

If only this presidency wasn’t such a nightmare this would be even funnier. And once O is out of office we need to add a picture of the POTUS on the April Fools page on wiki.

sdbatboy on January 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I have one of those hats.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

We find things that look like that hat and use them as fuel for our camp fires on the range.

Roy Rogers on January 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

We find things that look like that hat and use them as fuel for our camp fires on the range.

Roy Rogers on January 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Probably not made of the same material.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Probably not made of the same material.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Not sure… He looks like its keeping his head warm and probably smells a lot like home

Roy Rogers on January 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Not sure… He looks like its keeping his head warm and probably smells a lot like home

Roy Rogers on January 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Roy, I’m wanting to ask you how you’d know that a cow patty on your nugget would keep it warm.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Fry in a vat of pork lard while your 72 virgin homosexual yaks take turns pleasuring themselves at your expense in the bowels of Hell for all eternity you sadistic ba$tard.

Bubba Redneck on January 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM