Nation & World News

Pakistani Taliban Chief Killed In U.S. Drone Strike

By Scott Neuman on November 2nd, 2013

The head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike, U.S. and Taliban officials tell NPR and other news organizations.

“We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack,” a senior Taliban commander was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The Associated Press reports that “a senior U.S. intelligence official confirmed the strike overnight, saying the U.S. received positive confirmation Friday morning that he had been killed.” The news agency said the CIA and the White House declined to comment.

An NPR producer in Islamabad, citing Pakistani intelligence sources, reports that Mehsud was in North Waziristan to attend a meeting at a mosque in the Darpa Dandakhel area of Miranshah when he was killed.

It’s worth pointing out that in the past, initial reports of senior al-Qaida and Taliban leaders being killed in drone strikes have frequently proved wrong.

The death of Mehsud “would be a major blow to the group that comes just a day after the [Pakistani] government said it started peace talks with the militants,” the AP says.

Mehsud, “believed to be behind a failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square in 2010 as well as brazen attacks inside Pakistan, was widely reported to have been killed in 2010, but later resurfaced. The tribal areas where the drone attacks occur are dangerous, making it difficult for journalists to independently confirm information,” according to the AP.

The BBC says four missiles were fired from the drone at a vehicle used by Mehsud. However, The New York Times reports that Mehsud was killed “at compound that had been built for Mr. Mehsud about a year ago, and which he had used intermittently since then.”

The BBC says:

“Four other people were killed in the strike, including two of Mehsud’s bodyguards, intelligence sources say.

“Several previous claims of his death, made by US and Pakistani intelligence sources, have proven untrue.”

Reuters reports:

“Hakimullah Mehsud was one of Pakistan’s most wanted men with a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head. He led an increasingly violent insurgency from a secret hideout in North Waziristan, the Taliban’s mountainous stronghold on the Afghan border.”

Update at 7:00 p.m. ET. NSC ‘Not In A Position To Confirm’:

National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden tells NPR: “We have seen the reports that Hakimullah Mahsud may have been killed in Pakistan. We are not in a position to confirm those reports, but if true, this would be serious loss for the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

In the past year, the U.S. prison population fell by roughly 4,800, the first time in decades the number has gone down, according to the Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the findings at New York University's law school Tuesday.

Crime Falls As U.S. Locks Up Fewer People, Attorney General Holder Says

For the first time in more than 40 years, both the overall crime rate and the overall incarceration rate have fallen by around 10 percent in a roughly five-year span, the attorney general says.


Al-Qaida’s Khorasan Group Led By Hard-Core Fighters

The group, which was targeted by U.S. airstrikes in Syria last night, has been on the U.S. radar for a while. Intelligence officials say they have tracked its individual members for years.


President Barack Obama speaks at the UN Climate Summit Tuesday. Discussing America's past, Obama told the group, "We recognize our role in creating this problem."

Obama Calls For More Ambitious Approach To Climate Change In U.N. Speech

“There is such a thing as being too late,” President Obama says in his address to the U.N. Climate Summit. The White House is touting tools to boost “global resilience” in the face of climate change.


In some parts of the U.S., Starbucks is testing a latte flavored with roasted-stout notes along with its seasonal autumn drinks such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte, seen here at front.

Stoutaccino? Starbucks Tests Coffee With Beer Flavors

Reports that Starbucks is testing a new coffee drink for autumn that incorporates “toasty stout flavors” has set off a debate over how such a concoction might taste, and whether it’s a good idea.


President Obama closes his eyes as a prayer is offered at the National Prayer Breakfast in February in Washington, D.C.

More Americans Favor Mixing Religion And Politics, Survey Says

The poll by Pew’s Religion & Public Life Project also shows that three-quarters of survey participants believe religion’s influence on American life is waning.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments