Islamabad The Pakistani Taliban confirmed Tuesday that their leader, Hakimullah Mahsud, died from injuries suffered in a U.S. drone missile strike last month, an attack that forces the insurgency to find a new leader for the second time in six months.
The death of Mahsud, engineer of a devastating series of suicide attacks and raids on markets, mosques and security installations across Pakistan in the latter half of 2009, gives the U.S. another major victory in its ongoing campaign of drone missile strikes against top Taliban and al-Qaida leaders.
A drone strike last August killed Mahsud’s predecessor, Baitullah Mahsud. Missiles fired by drones over Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border have also killed 15 senior al-Qaida commanders since 2004.
However, experts do not expect the loss of Hakimullah Mahsud, 28, to deal a fatal blow to the Taliban as it battles the government in the country’s northwest.