Baitullah Mehsud No More!


“Only jihad can bring peace to the world” said Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s enemy number one, while talking to the BBC in 2007.Mehsud earned the ire of the Pakistani military, people and Western world alike by his version of Jihad. His force structure is known to be very diverse: Including around 12,000 local fighters, many  of them belonging to his own Mehsud tribe, and an estimated 4,000 foreign fighters, predominantly Arabs and Central Asians seasoned in the 1980s Afghan jihad. By giving them a cause and a home — in parts of South Waziristan where they were easily accessible to him- Mehsud raised a fanatical army of guerilla warfare. Not to forget his he also has a stable of teenage boys -indoctrinated to serve as suicide bombers, thus raising an army of child soldiers.

In March the U.S. put a $5 million bounty on his head. On the other side American  unmanned drones increased significantly focusing on Mehsud-related target. Its essential to highlight that the drone led attacks have killed civilians 600 civilians till date. However a drone attack at Zangara ,in the tribal area of South Waziristan, today managed to eliminate Baituallah. His demise is undoubtedly a great blow to the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and a moral booster for the Pakistan army. If used strategically this could act as a juncture in the war against Taliban. According to sources the Taliban have already assembled to appoint a new leader. The NYT piece on Baitullah states:

Already, Taliban commanders were meeting Friday in a shura, or council, in the lawless tribal area of South Waziristan to choose his successor, according to intelligence and militant officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. It was unclear when they would reach a decision.
The fact that an immediate council has been set up reflects the intensity of the loss. Whether the Pakistan army and the American intelligence agency utilize this opportunity to further destabilize Taliban, remains a question.  Provided that they do utilize this opportunity (which they must) it could undoubtedly trigger a pivotal change. Another speculation leading to his death is of a possible backlash. The Pakistani authority have reportedly dismissed any signs of immediate reaction. Still many fear that the backlash could be extremely devastating. Many believe that his death has marked him a martyr to his soldiers. A martyr whose death will ignite the inferno of religious extremism even more. Nonetheless his death has snubbed one of the most blatant Taliban leaders. He was known to mastermind and blatantly confess over 80% terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Sources state:
A wave of attacks linked to the militants has killed 1,995 people around Pakistan since government forces fought gunmen holed up in Islamabad’s Red Mosque in July 2007, sparking militant retaliation.
The government has blamed nearly 80 per cent of the attacks on the Pakistan Taliban, including the December 2007 killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
NYT reports:
Just Last year, Mehsud held a rare news conference the town of Kot Kai in South Waziristan to discuss his fight against the U.S.
”It is the top desire of my life to obtain martyrdom, I have strong feelings for the martyrdom in my heart,” he said. ”To be a martyr, to be wounded or arrested we consider it as a sacrifice.”
He said the Taliban supported suicide bombings as a response to American bombs.
”America is bombing us and we are facing cruelty, so we will support these suicide attacks.” he said. ”They (suicide bombers) are our atom bombs. Although the infidels have the atom bombs, our atom bombs are the finest in the world.
”They use the atom (bomb) and it destroyed everything while our one bomb just targets one target to be destroyed.”
Mehsud’s growing influence had become a grave concern to Western policymakers suggesting Pakistan represents the gravest general security threat to the international community — the prospect of  al Qaeda being nuclear-armed.  With Mehsud down the prospect seems less likely to be attained. At the same time this all is entirely dependant on how Baitullah’s death is utilized to further damage the Taliban regime.
The most interesting fact surrounding Baituallah is his death from a drone attack, and if the incident changes the majorities perspective.  While speaking in a live show on Dawn Faraha naz Isphani, Advisor to the President, confessed she will not condemn drones if they have successfully eliminated Baitullah. In the past the secrecy cloaked drone attacks have been quite notorious.  Even though the authorities continued to publicly condemn the drone attacks , many analyst disclosed a mutual agreement.  The targeting of Baitullah Mehsud highlights the closely knitted intelligence networking between the US and Pakistani authorities.
In June, authorities announced they were launching an operation against Mehsud in South Waziristan. Although air strikes began right away, the offensive never went full-scale, even with a well defined target. In the meantime, the drone attacks increased, claiming to target Mehsud, further raising speculation that the Pakistani authorities were coordinating the drone attacks with Americans. On accounts of drone attacks, many might principally disagree , but after Baituallah’s death  a possible change in perspective cant be denied.
Baituallah Mehsud’s death can be considered a significant blow but not a definite one. Al-Qaeda has never been  one man army , many more deputes will vow in Baituallah’s place.But the Taliban will require time to groom  a leader that commands the same fear among his tribesmen, that made Baituallah an elusive foe. The recent tussle among the Taliban groups has incautiously exposed their weakness.  His demise has also managed to shatter the implausible conspiracy theory surrounding his group. We must remember that the Waziristan operation was tagged as a “decisive showdown” by the army, and Baituallah’s death is no doubt the curtain raiser. Now that Baitullah is no more the end seems more realistic and attainable.
“Only jihad can bring peace to the world” said Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s enemy number one, while talking to the BBC in 2007.Mehsud earned

Baitullah Mehsud was known to be particulary concerned about not being photograhed
Baitullah Mehsud was known to be particulary concerned about being photograhed

the ire of the Pakistani military, people and Western world alike by his version of Jihad. His force structure is known to be very diverse: Including around 12,000 local fighters, many  of them belonging to his own Mehsud tribe, and an estimated 4,000 foreign fighters, predominantly Arabs and Central Asians seasoned in the 1980s Afghan jihad. By giving them a cause and a home — in parts of South Waziristan where they were easily accessible to him- Mehsud raised a fanatical army of guerilla warfare. Not to forget his  stable of teenage boys -indoctrinated to serve as suicide bombers, thus raising an army of child soldiers.

In March the U.S. put a $5 million bounty on his head. On the other side American  unmanned drones increased significantly focusing on Mehsud-related targets. Its essential to highlight that the drone led attacks have killed  600 civilians till date. However a drone attack at Zangara ,in the tribal area of South Waziristan, today managed to eliminate Baitullah. His demise is undoubtedly a great blow to the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and a moral booster for the Pakistan army. If used strategically this could act as a juncture in the war against Taliban. According to sources the Taliban have already assembled to appoint a new leader. The NYT piece on Baitullah states:
Already, Taliban commanders were meeting Friday in a shura, or council, in the lawless tribal area of South Waziristan to choose his successor, according to intelligence and militant officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. It was unclear when they would reach a decision.
Photo Courtesy: BBC- Pakistans most feared men
Photo Courtesy: BBC- Pakistan's most feared men
The fact that an immediate council has been set up reflects the intensity of the loss. Whether the Pakistan army and the American intelligence agency utilize this opportunity to further destabilize Taliban, remains a question.  Provided that they do utilize this opportunity (which they must) it could undoubtedly trigger a pivotal change. Another speculation leading to his death is of a possible backlash. The Pakistani authority have reportedly dismissed any signs of immediate reaction. Still many fear that the backlash could be extremely devastating. Many believe that his death has marked him a martyr to his soldiers. A martyr whose death will ignite the inferno of religious extremism even more. Nonetheless his death has snubbed one of the most blatant Taliban leaders. He was known to mastermind and blatantly confess over 80% terrorist attacks in Pakistan. A report in Dawn elaborates:
A wave of attacks linked to the militants has killed 1,995 people around Pakistan since government forces fought gunmen holed up in Islamabad’s Red Mosque in July 2007, sparking militant retaliation.
The government has blamed nearly 80 per cent of the attacks on the Pakistan Taliban, including the December 2007 killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
A video footage showing manhunt for Baitullah Mehsud

NYT reports:
Just Last year, Mehsud held a rare news conference in the town of Kot Kai in South Waziristan to discuss his fight against the U.S.
''It is the top desire of my life to obtain martyrdom, I have strong feelings for the martyrdom in my heart,'' he said. ''To be a martyr, to be wounded or arrested we consider it as a sacrifice.''
He said the Taliban supported suicide bombings as a response to American bombs.
''America is bombing us and we are facing cruelty, so we will support these suicide attacks.'' he said. ''They (suicide bombers) are our atom bombs. Although the infidels have the atom bombs, our atom bombs are the finest in the world.
''They use the atom (bomb) and it destroyed everything while our one bomb just targets one target to be destroyed.''
Photo Courtesy: NYT- Baitullah Mehsuds press conference
Photo Courtesy: NYT- Baitullah Mehsud's press conference
Mehsud's growing influence had become a grave concern to Western policymakers suggesting Pakistan represents the gravest general security threat to the international community -- the prospect of  al Qaeda being nuclear-armed.  With Mehsud down the prospect seems less likely to be attained. At the same time this is entirely dependant on how Baitullah’s death is utilized to further damage the Taliban regime.
The most interesting fact surrounding Baitullah is his death from a drone attack, and if the incident changes the majorities perspective.  While speaking in a live show on Dawn Faraha naz Isphani, Advisor to the President, confessed she will not condemn drones if they have successfully eliminated Baitullah. In the past the secrecy cloaked drone attacks have been quite notorious.  Even though the authorities continued to publicly condemn the drone attacks , many analyst disclosed a mutual agreement.  The targeting of Baitullah Mehsud highlights the closely knitted intelligence networking between the US and Pakistani authorities.
In June, authorities announced they were launching an operation against Mehsud in South Waziristan( Read The hunt for Baitullah Meshud). Although air strikes began right away, the offensive never went full-scale, even with a well defined target. In the meantime, the drone attacks increased, claiming to target Mehsud, further raising speculation that the Pakistani authorities were coordinating the drone attacks with Americans. On accounts of drone attacks, many might principally disagree , but after Baitullah’s death  a possible change in perspective can not be denied.
Baitullah Mehsud’s death can be considered a significant blow but not a definite one. Al-Qaeda has never been a one man army , many more deputes will vow in Baituallah’s place.But the Taliban will require time to groom  a leader that commands the same fear among his tribesmen, that made Baitullah an elusive foe. The recent tussle among the Taliban groups has incautiously exposed their weakness.  His demise has also managed to shatter the implausible conspiracy theory surrounding his group.The aim now should be to sabotage Baitullah's legacy.
We must remember that the Waziristan operation was tagged as a “decisive showdown” by the army, and Baituallah’s death is no doubt the curtain raiser. Now that Baitullah is no more the end seems more realistic and attainable.
About these ads

6 thoughts on “Baitullah Mehsud No More!”

  1. We already know that such extremist organisations never rely on just one present leader (unlike our political parties in Pakistan).. They have a system of preparation of upcoming leaders… and already there must be few ready in the line. So why such hype on the killing of one leader after 600 innocent deaths? It s just seems like a publicity stunt to justify billions of dollars having been showered on their campaign.

  2. I concurr with Kalsoom and I agree this is just a start. While it is a psychological victory for Pakistan, Al Qaeda is not a one man show and organisation’s such as the Taliban have roots and causes. Killing Mehsud does not deal with why they are there in the first place and further work will need to be done – both on strangling the Taliban and improving the lives of people within the Tribal areas – to build civil society and Pakistan’s sovereignty within the area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s