Tales from the Trail

Coincidence? April spy meeting, Taliban leader (probably) killed

August 10, 2009

A top level U.S.-Pakistani spy meeting in April.

A top Taliban official killed (90 percent certain) in August.

Coincidence?

USA/CIA Director Leon Panetta and Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, held a hush-hush meeting in the Washington area  in April.

The New York Times said the accuracy of American drone strikes against the network of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud improved soon afterward.

Pakistani and U.S. officials believe Mehsud was killed last week, with White House national security adviser Jim Jones putting the likelihood at 90 percent, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

A U.S. counterterrorism official told Reuters on Monday: “There are strong indications he’s dead. No one is expecting him home for dinner tonight.”

But back to where the latest assault on militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas may have been hatched, the April meeting.

“Panetta and Pasha were in strong agreement on the threats posed by Baitullah Mehsud, someone with American and Pakistani blood on his hands,” a U.S. counterterrorism official said.

“It made sense to everyone that both sides should work even more closely on ways to take him off the battlefield, and to disrupt the terrorist network he led,” the official said.

“Taking this guy out of the equation would deal a serious blow to the Pakistani Taliban and would likely cause the underlying tensions within the group—a collection of extremist factions whose leaders have had some serious disagreements in the past—to rise to the surface,” he said.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (CIA Director Panetta at a luncheon in June)

Comments
3 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Apprantly there is no love for terroist murders, no one has anything nice to say about them.

Posted by g1v3up | Report as abusive
 

Coincidence or not it’s a good thing. This is the war we should have been fighting all along and in fact we might be done in Afghanistan if we hadn’t been misled into the Iraq war. The Taliban and Al Queda have been allowed to regroup and strengthen in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of the diversion of troops and resources to Iraq. Hopefully with draw down in Iraq we’ll see resources increased in Afghanistan so we can get the people who actually attacked us on 9/11.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive
 

eric h do you seriously think that obama is going to escalate the commitment in afghanistan? he is looking for an easy with drawl. The statements other wise during the campaign were only a smoke screen.Clinton,s war effort over there was 2 cruise missiles,fortunately Obama has drones , and they will help him to eclipse Bill. The much expected report from the generals and Gates as to a possible “surge”is stuck on somebodies desk, are they trying to minimize the report before it floats to the surface. The allies in europe that were going to flock to Obama,s call are reviewing their support for the war,and as their nationals are increasingly being killed are anxious about political fallout.So in conclusion eric h. If there had been a democratic government in office at the time of 911 there would have been a lot of postulating but nothing would have been done,so cut out the bravado.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/