Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud — responsible for planning strikes against the United States and killing U.S. troops — was killed by a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan Agency, Pakistani security forces and Pakistani officials confirmed to numerous news agencies on Friday.
U.S. Counterterrorism officials told TheBlaze that they are not releasing information on the drone strike or confirming one way or another on the death of Mehsud, as the situation is still fluid on the ground.
A Pakistani official, however, who spoke with TheBlaze, said the terrorist leader was on his way to the town of Danda Darpakhel, near Miranshah, the largest city in North Waziriztan, when he was hit by the CIA drone.
Meshud was calling a “meeting with other (Tehreek-e-Taliban) commanders to discuss a peace strategy talks with the Pakistani government,” the Pakistani official said. “When he reached his house in Darpakhel area a U.S. drone hit his vehicle.”
He was seriously injured after the attack and was rushed to Miranshah Hospital but died from his injuries after he arrived.
Mehsud, who was head of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) since he took over the group in 2009, had been involved in the planning and killing of U.S. and Afghan military personnel in Eastern Afghanistan.
In early October, U.S. military officials in Afghanistan confirmed the capture of Latif Mehsud, a secondary commander in Hakimullah’s organization. Latif is not related but has the same common last name.
“We’ve been plagued in Eastern Afghanistan by the TTP for some time,” said a U.S. military official familiar with the organization. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the nature of their work.
“Killing Mehsud definitely puts a dent in their operations but it hasn’t wiped them out because they have help from officials inside the Pakistan government. The TTP is the tiger Pakistani officials can’t really control but need.”
According to sources in the TTP a commander by the name of Said Khan, also known as Sajna meaning darling friend, is going to take over leadership of the group.
“He is the one all the commanders in the TTP respect and he also has support of Al Qaeda,” a Pakistani source, based in Peshawar told TheBlaze.
The TTP, a terrorist organization based in Pakistan’s lawless Federally Administered Tribal Area, claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing of New York City’s Times Square in 2010, and continued to make threats to attack the U.S. homeland again,
The group was also responsible for attacking our diplomats in Pakistan and attacks that have killed countless Pakistani and Afghan civilians, according to the U.S. State Department.
Tariq Mehsud, his bodyguard and driver, and his cousin Abdullah Mehsood, who was Vice President of the organization and two other commanders were with him in the vehicle, were among the six killed.
According to a senior U.S. Official who spoke to the Associated Press the U.S. intelligence community received positive confirmation Friday morning that Mehsud had been killed.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the drone strike was the U.S. attempts to sabotage his government’s plan to hold talks with the Taliban, as reported in the Pakistan media.
There have been two drone strikes since Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the U.S. last month. Sharif demanded that the U.S. stop the strikes.