Taliban-lederen Baitullah Mehsud ble etter all sannsynlighet drept av en rakett fra en amerikansk drone onsdag. Ryktene begynte å gå torsdag og fredag kunne to Taliban-representanter bekrefte Mehsuds død. Det skal avholdes et møte snarest for å velge hans etterfølger.

Mehus var diabetiker og måtte med jevne mellomrom søke behandling. Det gjorde ham sårbar.

The Taliban fighters, one senior leader reached by phone in Orakzai agency, and one local Taliban fighter in Waziristan, said that Mr. Mehsud had been receiving kidney treatment from a relative in his father-in-law’s house in the remote village of Zanghara, in South Waziristan, on Wednesday when missiles fired from a remotely-piloted drone struck. Mr. Mehsud, a diabetic, had been sick for some time and had come to his father-in-law’s house for a drip treatment by the relative, who was a medical practitioner, the Taliban fighters said.

The fighters refused to disclose the location of the meeting called to replace him, saying they feared another drone strike.

Reports of Mr. Mehsud’s death began to circulate on Thursday. At the time, village residents said only that one of Mr. Mehsud’s wives had been killed in the attack and that several children had been wounded.

The U.S. government made killing or capturing Mr. Mehsud one of its top priorities this year. «Taking Mehsud off the battlefield would be a major victory,» an American counterterrorism official said Thursday. «The world, and certainly Pakistan, would be a safer place without him.»

Taliban Leader in Pakistan Was Killed, His Aides Say