Can the Pakistan Taliban survive the “death” of Baitullah Mehsud?

mehsud“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.

24 Responses to “Can the Pakistan Taliban survive the “death” of Baitullah Mehsud?”

  1. August 10, 2009 at 10:23

    Taliban is a cult. A many headed cult. But when the top leaders are killed, I believe the movement will wither and fade. The Taliban don’t go to work, they live off their plunders, drugs, and donations. They have a license from their leader to take from others who work. Kill of those leaders is THE way to end Islamic terrorism.

  2. 2 VictorK
    August 10, 2009 at 11:16

    ‘Taliban’ is a name attached to an ideological movement. That movement is inspired by the Koran and aims at the complete Islamification of Pakistani society. It’s not about individuals. Even if the ‘Taliban’ were defeated there’s no doubt that they would be succeeded by another group inspired by the same ideology to achieve the same goals.

    That the ideology that drives these movements is ‘Islam’ is more to the point than whether the Taliban can survive the alleged death of Mehsud. What the Taliban represents and aspires to is immortal, at least as long as Islam exists. Their commitment to Islam is greater than their opponents’, and that gives them a decisive advantage with a largely religiously orthodox population (from the Swat Valley to Afghanistan, Talibanic Islam encounters no appreciable popular opposition). The only effective challenge to Talibanism is a ruthless secular force (e.g. Saddam Hussein, the Nigerian army, or the Algerian army – none of whom, unlike the US & UK armies, scruple to kill, and even murder, Talibanists). That’s the real issue, and it’s also why the Taliban, or rather their view, will triumph in Pakistan and Afghanistan, however many Mehsuds are killed.

    • 3 Jim Newman
      August 10, 2009 at 14:40

      Hello again
      And hello again ViktorK. It seems to me that WHYS has every intention of isolating us one from the other. This is a method of censorship quite unique to WHYS I believe.
      In general I agree with your comment. I disagree with you on one point and that is that the British and USA armies are totally unscrupulous. Witness the indiscriminate bombings of towns and villages that entail countless defenceless civilian victims.
      Of course one can always retort that the enemy is hiding behind the defenceless civilians but this enemy is the local resistance against the foreign invaders, they belong there. The British and the Americans do not belong there. And however much the western press say the Taliban this and the Taliban that the Taliban are local and are a local problem and should be resolved locally. What brought the USA into the picture is the famous pipeline from the Caucasus that should cross Afghanistan. I think that the USA should stop defending it’s interrests in other peoples countries at the expense of many ‘innocent’ lives of the inhabitants of those countries.
      Your emminently zappable Jim

  3. 4 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 10, 2009 at 11:18

    Dead or Alive the Taliban will survive. It’s very improbable that the Pakistan or US can get confirmation of Baitullah Mehsud’s death because the Taliban control South Waziristan. They determine who comes in and goes out of the area so if the Pakistani and US governments are claiming his death they either have spies in the area or it’s all propaganda.

  4. 5 Afghangirl
    August 10, 2009 at 12:14

    Taliban? What can you say about them. They have hurt and broke soo many people that it would seem unbelieveable to some. Many of us who have unfortunately come in thier path in the past, know exactly what they are capable of. That is why I back the US and Britain for all their hard work in tyring to get rid of these heartless and monstorus people.

  5. 6 scmehta
    August 10, 2009 at 13:34

    Who cares? It’s just one of the evilest less. Nevertheless, it’s time to rejoice for those who are fighting against the mindless bloody terror; besides, it’s a big relief to the tormented millions. His death will definitely make world of difference to the terrorists’ already sagging morale; otherwise, they need to suffer many more such-like shattering blows to bring them to their knees.

  6. 7 patti in cape coral
    August 10, 2009 at 13:52

    I don’t think the death of any one person is enough to derail the Taliban, unfortunately. I’m not sure what will work.

  7. 8 Ramesh, India
    August 10, 2009 at 14:10

    I have no doubt. Even if Bin laden dies, Al Qaeda threat will still exist. These are not one-man terrorist organizations.

  8. August 10, 2009 at 14:29

    Victork, read Afghangirl, quite clearly an eye witness. And yes the Taliban will survive this leaders death. And also yes, there are spies and informers otherwise the Americans would not know which house to target or when, it was not a random strike! If the Taliban have to keep nominating new leaders they will eventually run out of brains good enough to lead. All Pakistanis and all Afghans do not support the Taliban, or their version of the Koran.

    • 10 Helen
      August 11, 2009 at 04:08

      I don’t expect the full answer to this. I remember being a teenager in the 1970’s and the situation in Afghanistan was in the news. Which countries the forces belonged to since this situation started(I don’t know when it started),may not matter. Why they were and who they were fighting is relevant and so is every army that has been there. The point I’m getting at is a question I never heard asked or answered. It is:”how did the Taliban start?And who started it.”

  9. 11 Tom K in Mpls
    August 10, 2009 at 15:42

    The recent events seem to point out that the Taliban is a group that values personal power more than a cause. This is good news for most people.

  10. 12 James Turner
    August 10, 2009 at 16:39

    “I have no doubt. Even if Bin laden dies, Al Qaeda threat will still exist. These are not one-man terrorist organizations.” I couldn’t agree more! It is with a heavy heart everyday I awake to this mess we are in….. I’m no deep thinker, so it is understandable to me that I don’t get what it is we are doing! What I see is the lost of youthful life! To end that thousand of children will grow up never knowing one or both of their parents! A large portion of those children will never reach their potential! To me that is a grave sin! For the most part I don’t even here an out cry!

  11. 13 Dennis Junior
    August 10, 2009 at 16:57

    Yes, I think that the Taliban (Taleban) has the will to survived following the *death* of Baitullah Mehsud….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  12. 14 nora
    August 10, 2009 at 17:45

    What do we do with OUR dead when they were powerful in life? We institutionalize them with memorial days and parks and street names, etc. We call up their names to reference our opinions on campaigns, wars, traditions.

    If the people loved this guy or hated and feared him will be known only by the people themselves over time. If he provided lots of cooking oil to the village, didn’t let his guys rape your daughters and had a good sense of humor, you are not going to feel the same as the woman who took the lash for reading in the next village.

    The Taliban is the love child of the not-so-Cold War between the US and the Soviets, despite Islamic roots. The Soviets provided education for women, so we backed these twelfth century dudes and made them our spies, handed out Korans. The US now fights for education of women with the cell phone toting sons of the twelfth century dudes.

    Afghanis, tell us what to do for civil rights and daily peace.

    • 15 Helen
      August 10, 2009 at 22:37

      I don’t think Mehsud is like a Che Guevera,or like Bin Laden. I think he was or is more like a racketeer,a criminal. I don’t think he was a figure for the people or one they would care about. If he had loyalty it is because he perverted the Koran for his own purposes and deceived those who were willing to be deceived and not follow the Koran that values and respects life and God(or Allah). The terrorists are called extremists because they follow an adulterated and corrupted interpretation of the Koran,worshipping bloodlust and death.

  13. 16 nora
    August 10, 2009 at 18:06

    We are caught fighting terror with terror. What can we actually do to help the people take a breath for their won aspirations?

  14. August 10, 2009 at 18:32

    they’ll survive as long as their CIA/MI6/Mossad handlers want them to survive; i.e. as long as they’re useful in executing the black ops needed to perpetuate the Global War Of Terror psy-op

    media like BBC, rather than resonating the psy-op should be investigating and exposing it – but if you were to start asking around (for example) as to why so much CIA-issue munitions are found on Taliban corpses, you know well enough that your own field reporters might be disappeared to vicious fates

  15. 18 terry
    August 10, 2009 at 18:59

    The best situation is where there is no standing military anywhere in the world and no need then for a foreign military to be in anyone’s country, but until then some countries want assistance with building a professional military.

    Positioning of military resources in a country should provide benefit for both countries. Too often it does not, but like any situation both countries should insure they make best use of all the resources available within the partnership.

    If there were a U.S. base in sub Saharan Africa and it provided transport support to the African Union, that would be a good thing.

  16. August 10, 2009 at 20:40

    No one seems to see the most major discrepancy in Pakistan’s demography; the low rate of literacy. Indeed ignorance is no part of holiness. From a Prophet whose first instruction was “WRITE!” to a hadith which says “Seek knowledge even as far as China.”, Islam condemns lack of diligence in the acquisition of knowledge. Demagogues would get short shrift in an educated society. “Leaders” who accept an uneducated population are enemies of Islam. We seem to forget that a thousand years ago, Europe was the cesspit of the planet, and that Baghdad was the beacon of learning. If subsequent rulers who have found it convenient to bury these facts have prevailed, it is not due to the rewards of faith.

  17. 20 T
    August 11, 2009 at 04:10

    First, is Baitullah dead or not? When Saddam was captured, did the military keep saying we think it’s him. Maybe it’s not him. We’re not sure. Doesn’t this look slightly ridiculous?

    “Terrorism” isn’t a movement. It’s individuals.

  18. 21 Dustin
    August 11, 2009 at 06:43

    I regret that this person who could display such unprofessionalism could be empowered to represent my country. No wonder that so much disinformation exists on this issue, if few people are willing to set aside their own emotions.
    Thank you, BBC for staying neutral in the discussion. The partisan news organizations of my country usually attack the guest when he or she makes a mistake.

  19. August 11, 2009 at 07:39

    The death of one man cannot end such an organization. It might even strengthen them.
    We keep fighting fire with oxygen!

  20. August 11, 2009 at 16:14

    Talibans is an organisations alike NATO and therefore the dead of one man does not have an effect on their movement as long there`s gigantic flows of arms & ammunitions from unspecified sources.Pakistan & US might took his death as victorious but civilians in both Afganistan-Pakistan as Talibans will be more notorious this time than their previous policies in their revenge.

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