“We both are alive,” says Taliban commander Wali-ur-Rehman. He might find that the US, Pakistan and its neighbours in the region beg to differ. They are pretty confident that the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud is very much dead.
That’s what so many of you have been talking about around the world and on this blog. We touched on this story on Friday during the first half of our programme, but unfortunately telephone lines didn’t work in our favour. It’s still been one of the biggest stories of the weekend. Is he dead? If he isn’t should Taliban prove it? And if he is, can the Taliban survive his death or is the leadership of this organisation more than just about one man?
Some of you like Sultan Ahmed on our blog have been advising us not to jump the gun,
“Ground verfication does not support this news published by international media. Watch and wait.”
But as the Taliban begin to apparently plan their next move, can we afford to wait and see? People are already discussing what the future holds for a Pakistan post Mehsud.
Several parts of the jigsaw are yet to be fitted, as this round up of the US paper’s suggests. The Pakistan government are no in position to be sitting back as the Taliban go into survival mode. According to Claud Rakisits
“…make no mistake: the Pakistani Taliban will not take Mehsud’s killing lying down. We can expect a major terrorist attack in retaliation: a high-profile Pakistani political leader or Western embassies are the most likely targets. The Pakistani Taliban will want to revenge his death with a spectacular terrorist act befitting of a terrorist of his notoriety. And that should be a major concern to all.”
Other’s like Mahmood Shah remain confident,
“Infighting among the Taliban commanders will weaken the group to the extent that it will eventually disintegrate.” Today’s unconfirmed shootout at a Taliban meeting may be the first signs of disintegration. There’s even talk of Al Qaida playing a role in the succession of the Taliban in Pakistan.
“Probably dead” or “totally alive” the mystery surrounding Baitullah Mehsud’s death has reinvigorated both parties in this war.