Islamabad/New Delhi, Aug.23 (ANI): The US could try to exploit the power struggle that has engulfed the Taliban in the wake of their chief Baitullah Mehsud's reported killing by a drone strike in South Waziristan.
According to The Independent, the Taliban's suspicions focus on the role of Ikramuddin Mehsud's brother, Saadullah Mehsud, a paramedic who had been called to help treat a stomach problem from which the militant leader had long been suffering.
The US missile struck the compound shortly after the medic left. Mehsud's father-in-law is also suspected.
But the seizing of the relatives is just the latest incident to suggest disarray among the Taliban's various factions, which Mehsud had headed since 2007.
Within hours of news of his death emerging, his men mounted attacks on a militant group led by Haji Turkistan Bhittani in the town of Tank.
Clashes between the two groups in Jandola a week later killed 70 people. The Mehsuds burned 30 homes and killed or captured more than a dozen fighters loyal to Bhittani.
The clashes, say analysts, are further proof that Mehsud is dead. Previously, the anti-Mehsud groups - which concentrate on fighting across the border in Afghanistan - were either reluctant to challenge the Pakistani Taliban or had non-aggression pacts with its leader.
"There are two levels of infighting," Amir Rana, an expert on Pakistani militancy, said. "First, at the Mehsud level, there is fighting among them for control of the group. The other level is the infighting between the various groups that make up the [Pakistani Taliban]."
This is a situation the Pakistan authorities and the US may be able to exploit in various ways. The Pakistan authorities could, as they have before, identify elements that are prepared to enter into non-aggression deals. The US would rather the Pakistan military exploited the Taliban's vulnerability by stepping up operations. (ANI)