From tonight’s ABC World News. Allegedly it was recorded 36 hours before we finally zapped him, after he crossed over into southern Afghanistan from — where else? — the Pakistani city of Quetta, also known as Taliban HQ.
CSM tries to read the tea leaves about what his death will mean for the war:
It is an important moment for the Taliban, who relied on Dadullah to provide some sense of unity to its eclectic mix of Islamist ideologues, village malcontents, and petty criminals.
“It’s almost a test of competing hypotheses about the Taliban,” says Barnett Rubin of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “Is it a group driven by radical extremist leadership,” or is it a loosely-connected band of village rebels?…
Some say his ruthlessness precluded rivals or successors. “He killed the guys above him, so quite a lot of capable or respected leaders have disappeared in his move up the ranks of the Taliban,” says a Western intelligence official in southern Afghanistan.
In that sense, Dadullah’s insidious rise may leave a leadership void. “This indicates that there was a bit of a gap below him,” the official adds.
The Taliban leadership is playing it cool but CBS’s terror expert calls it “one of the most significant setbacks to the Taliban in a very long time.” With Dadullah dead, public enemy number one in Afghanistan (assuming Osama’s in Pakistan) is now this guy, who’s own checkout is long since past due.