US Drone May Have Killed Taliban Leader Mehsud

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2009 6:30 PM CDT
Baitullah Mehsud, left with cap, faces the side to stop photographers from making an image of his face in May.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Potentially big news out of Pakistan: A US drone may have killed Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, reports Reuters. "There is reason to believe that reports of his death may be true, but it can't be confirmed at this time," said an anonymous US official. Mehsud is an al-Qaeda ally and a top target of American forces. Among other things, he's accused of orchestrating the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The strike by the pilotless drone occurred yesterday morning in northwest Pakistan at the home of one of his fathers-in-law. Pakistani officials say the strike killed Mehsud's second wife, his brother, and several bodyguards. One body has yet to be identified, and it is likely Mehsud, says a senior Pakistani official. DNA tests are under way, and skeptics caution that false reports of his death have surfaced before.