Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pakistan Taliban Allegedly Takes Double Body Blow: Updated

Taliban Leaders Clash Over Succession

Pakistani officials said they had received information on Saturday that a ranking militant commander had been killed in a power struggle over who would succeed Baitullah Mehsud the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

A Pakistani government official and an intelligence official said that Hakimullah Mehsud, a young and aggressive aide to the former leader, had been shot dead in a fight with another commander who was seeking leadership, Waliur Rehman, during a meeting in a remote mountain region near the Afghan border.

The killing would also solidify the belief among American and Pakistani intelligence officials that there has been a power struggle brewing within the Pakistani Taliban, which is made up of many different tribes and factions that had been brought together under Baitullah Mehsud’s leadership.

Taliban's Mehsud Confirmed Killed

The American missile strike that killed Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan's most wanted militant and a staunch Al Qaeda ally, dealt a devastating broadside to extremists and handed the United States a major victory in its bid to help stabilize the volatile nuclear state.

Mehsud's death, confirmed Friday by top Pakistani officials as well as the Taliban, creates a vacuum within the command structure of the militant organization and gives the Pakistani military a rare opportunity to weaken the group, former top Pakistani security and intelligence officials said.

"The loss for the Taliban is tremendous. He was their center of gravity," said former Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao. "His loss means there will be confusion and total demoralization within their ranks. This is a window of opportunity that Pakistan has to take advantage of."

Mehsud, believed to be 35, was killed in a missile strike by an unmanned U.S. aircraft early Wednesday, Pakistani officials said. One of Mehsud's two wives was also killed in the attack, which struck the home of Mehsud's father-in-law in South Waziristan, a volatile tribal area of Pakistan along the Afghan border that the Taliban has used as a base for years.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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