It is now official. Baitullah is dead.
Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud – who had a £3m bounty on his head – is dead, his second-in-command has told Sky News. Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region last year Molvi Faqir Muhammad confirmed the death after widespread speculation over the militant group chief’s demise in a US missile strike on Wednesday. Kafayat Ullah, an aide to Mehsud, said he died along with his second wife during the attack in South Waziristan. Mehsud – who has links to terror organisation al Qaeda – declared himself leader of the Pakistan Taliban, grouping around 13 factions in the north-west, in late 2007. Benazir Bhutto His fighters have been behind a wave of suicide attacks inside Pakistan and on Western forces across the border in Afghanistan. He was accused of being behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007 – a charge he denied.
Pakistani officials had previously made a series of statements suggesting Mehsud did not survive Wednesday’s attack – although some conceded facts still needed confirmation. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said intelligence showed Mehsud died during the strike at his father-in-law’s house in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area. View Larger Map But Mr Qureshi went on: “To be 100% sure, we are going for ground verification. “And once the ground verification reconfirms, which I think is almost confirmed, then we’ll be 100% sure.” Pakistani soldiers during an anti-Taliban offensive in Swat Valley
An intelligence officer in South Waziristan said earlier that a funeral for Mehsud had already taken place. The missile strike was believed to have been carried out by a pilotless US drone aircraft. If confirmed, Mehsud’s demise would be a major boost to Pakistani and US efforts to eradicate the Taliban and terror group al Qaeda. US missile attacks on Mehsud territory in South Waziristan became more frequent after Pakistan ordered a military offensive against him in June.