US Drones Kill Taliban Chief: Officials

Hakimullah Mehsud goes down in strike a day after peace talks begin
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2013 1:56 PM CDT
US Drones Kill Taliban Chief: Officials
This 2008 file photo taken in the Orakzai tribal region of Pakistan shows Hakimullah Mehsud.   (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mehsud, File)

A US drone has taken out Hakimullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, along with four other suspected militants, US and Pakistani officials tell the AP. Mehsud has been near the top of the CIA's most wanted list thanks to his alleged role in a December 2009 suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed seven Americans, including CIA personnel. He's also believed to have had a hand in the failed Times Square car bombing, among other attacks.

But two top Taliban commanders said they hadn't seen Mehsud's body at the site of the strike, and he's been reported killed before, only to resurface later. But if he is dead, the strike awkwardly comes just a day after Pakistan invited the Taliban to peace talks with the Afghan government, RT reports. In October, Mehsud told the BBC that he was open to "serious talks," but only if negotiators' safety was guaranteed. "It is important that drone strikes are stopped," he said. (Read more Hakimullah Mehsud stories.)

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