James Forsyth

Mehsud’s death is a massive blow to the Taliban 

Mehsud's death is a massive blow to the Taliban 
Text settings

If Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed that is a major success which should help both in the fight against the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan; Mehsud had up to 20,000 fighters under his command. It appears that a drone hit his father in law’s house while he was there receiving medical treatment. One of his wives is reported to have also been killed in the strike.

Drones are a controversial part of the US arsenal, some argue that the collateral damage they inflict turns the population against the coalition and so make them not worth using. But for this kind of operation they are invaluable. Any attempt to use ground forces would almost certainly have led to many casualties and have had a limited chance of success because of the need to move forces into position.