Sunday, August 9, 2009

Still trying to confirm the kills

Two major GWOT high-value targets may well have been taken this week:

As widely reported, Baitullah Mehsud, a major Pakistani Taliban warlord of South Waziristan, may have been killed by a targeted missile strike... Here is the Washington Post article on the apparent power vacuum and struggle between potential new Taliban leaders. If he is indeed dead (his demise has been reported before), the world is a better place without the presumed master of terror attacks that have killed dozens, including twice-Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

In Indonesia, the Police special detachment believes that they cornered and killed Noordin Muhammad Top, a Malaysian national and chief bomb-plotter of the J.I. (al-Qaeda affiliated) terrorist movement, in a 16 hour gunbattle in Central Java. the raid and a similar one that shot dead two would be suicide-bombers, likely prevented an attack on Indonesia's President Yudhoyono's residence planned to coincide with Indonesian Independence Day celebrations. But... doubts are now emerging as to his demise.

Both cases highlight the difficulties in determining the results of strikes against terror organizations, and in confirming the death of the shadowy figures at the center of such organizations.

Besides, the old rule still applies:
"If you don't see the body, he's probably halfway to Acapulco..."

Great analysis and sourcing by the Long War Journal on both stories:

Bill Roggio on Baitullah Mehsud

Nick Grace on Noordin Top

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