Mehsud's death does not mean Pak Taliban will fall apart: US official

Posted By: Staff
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Islamabad, Aug.10 (ANI): An American adviser in Islamabad, Pakistan, who spoke on condition of anonymity, has cautioned that even if the Mehsuds are proved to be dead, there is no guarantee that the Pakistani Taliban would fall apart.

"There is broad recognition that this is no longer an old-fashioned test of wills with troublesome Pashtun warlords and that eliminating Baitullah Mehsud would not end the insurgency in South Waziristan nor its influence on the insurgencies in North-West Frontier Province," the New York Times quotes the official, as saying in an e-mail message.

The adviser also cast doubt on the idea that the Pakistani military would move quickly to exploit any weaknesses, suggesting instead that the government was more in a mood to come to some negotiated settlement with the Mehsud faction, something that American officials have opposed.

"I think there will be, and probably are right now, furtive negotiations going on, but the military option remains," he wrote.

A nearly total information blackout has settled over the remote area in northwestern Pakistan since Wednesday's air strike that reportedly claimed the life of Baitullah Mehsud and one of his two wives.

The Mehsud tribe, officials say, has gone underground, trying to choose a successor.

The blackout is so complete that even longtime Taliban sources became difficult to reach, indicating some sort of turmoil.

Many phone lines in the area have been down altogether.

Those who were reached said they knew little.

Pakistani Government officials are standing by their information that a fight had occurred and that both Baitullah and Hakimullah Mehsud had been killed in the past few days.

Both Pakistani and American officials said Sunday that they had news of a power struggle in the wake of Baitullah Mehsud's reported death. (ANI)

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