Missiles from a U.S. unmanned aircraft struck a compound once used as a religious school in northwest Pakistan, where Hakimullah Mehsud, one of the most wanted men in the country, was thought to have spent the night. Mehsud recently inherited the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban, which seeks to overthrow the Pakistani government and replace it with a rudimentary Islamic theocracy.
A Taliban spokesman said Mehsud was still alive, but officials said he might have been among at least 10 Taliban militants reportedly killed in the airstrike in Pasalkot village in the conflicted tribal area of South Waziristan. The Pakistani army has been conducting anti-militant operations in that region for several months.
Even if Mehsud escaped, it is clear from the continued U.S. pounding on key militant targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas that American officials are determined to keep up the barrage of drone attacks. The airstrikes have intensified, despite Pakistani objections, since a suicide bomber killed seven CIA agents at a base in Afghanistan late last month.