Reports suggest that Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike overnight. This news comes on the heels of the congressional hearing on drones that saw Pakistani school teacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his family travel to the United States to talk about how drone strikes had killed one of their family members and injured several others.
News of Mehsud’s death also follows Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US last week, when he says he asked President Obama to halt drone strikes. Large segments of the Pakistani public are opposed to the strikes, which have been shown to cause more civilian deaths than the US claims, but the Pakistani government’s tacit consentto the strikes in the past cast doubts on whether official government protests are just for show, or a legitimate cry for justice.
Hakimullah Mehsud has been incorrectly reported as having been killed on several occasions in the past. But if he is dead, this news adds another angle to the controversy surrounding drones strikes – and if the Obama administration should continue to employ them as a method to take out high value targets.