Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baitullah Mehsud

Baitullah Mehsud was reportedly killed by an American drone attack this past week, although late this morning NPR reported that his organization is denying reports of his death.

Mehsud was in his 30's; he is blamed for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a bombing at the Islamabad Marriott last September, and a number of other terrorist attacks.

He was diabetic and had recently been reported to have an acute kidney illness. A description of the attack from the New York Times says that Mehsud was being treated for his kidney when he was killed:
The missile strike on Wednesday, from a C.I.A. drone, took place as Mr. Mehsud was on a drip infusion for his kidney ailment, according to two Taliban fighters reached by telephone on Friday. He was being tended to by one of his wives, the fighters said, and according to Pakistani security officials who had viewed American video of the attack they were together on the roof.They were both at the house of his father-in-law, Mulvi Ikramuddin, in the village of Zanghara, in South Waziristan. Mr. Ikramuddin’s brother, a medical practitioner, was treating him, the Taliban fighters said.
The article reports that Leon Panetta has been involved in high-level coordination with Pakistani intelligence officials, and this may have contributed to tracking down Mehsud. This June, Pakistan had named Mehsud its "Enemy No. 1."
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The picture is from today's Times and is by A. Majeed.

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