Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief - August 6-7, 2009�
Reports emerged, according to Taliban aides and anonymous Pakistani government and intelligence officials, that Beitullah Mehsud had been killed in Wednesday's drone strike that targeted the home of Mehsud's father-in-law; a taxation minister in Pakistan's Baluchistan province was assassinated in Karachi on Thursday evening; a delegation of elders from the Mehsud tribe traveled to Islamabad Thursday to lobby for an end to Pakistani military operations in Waziristan; residents of Swat valley have reportedly raised an anti-Taliban tribal militia of 5,000 people.
Beitullah Mehsud, the commander of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has been confirmed dead by a close aide, though officials awaited further confirmation. He was reportedly killed during Wednesday's U.S. drone strike on the village of Zangara, where he was staying with the family of his second wife.� Surviving leaders of the TTP reportedly met Friday to appoint a potential successor, but were unable to reach a decision: the foremost contenders reportedly include Hakimullah Mehsud, a regional commander based out of Orakzai, and Baitullah's cousin--and possible desired heir--Wali ur-Rehman.
Balochistan excise and taxation minister Rustam Jamali was assassinated in Karachi on Thursday night. The four gunmen who shot him while he was sitting in his car--which was parked at a police station--have not yet been identified. The killing has prompted widespread condemnation for Pakistani government officials, including President Ali Zardari.
A jirga, or delegation, of Mehsud tribe elders from South Waziristan arrived in Islamabad Thursday to request an end to Pakistani military operations in their territories. They reportedly cited the widespread civilian suffering the conflict has caused and warned of an impending "catastrophe" should fighting continue.
A local militia (lashkar) numbering some five thousand men has been raised in the Swat Valley as part of ongoing government efforts to combat the Taliban. The lashkar--which is the first of its kind in the area--reports that it has killed three militants already. Meanwhile, another three hundred-man laskhar in the Dir area, also allied with government forces, claims to have killed one hundred and sixty-seven Taliban in the past two months.