August 9th, 2009
12:38 PM ET
12 years ago

Jones: U.S. believes Pakistani Taliban leader dead

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States believes Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack, the president's national security adviser said Sunday.

"We think so," Gen. Jim Jones told NBC's "Meet the Press," adding, "We put it in the 90 percent (likelihood) category."

Pakistan's foreign and interior ministers said Friday the government was still waiting to conduct DNA analysis to confirm the identity of a man killed Wednesday in an unmanned aerial vehicle strike.

The suspected U.S. drone targeted the home of Mehsud's father-in-law, Mulvi Ikram ud Din, in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area, an intelligence official said.

Taliban officials have denied reports of Mehsud's death.

Speaking to "Fox News Sunday" about reports that Mehsud was killed, Jones said, "All evidence that we have suggests that," but he emphasized that the United States cannot be sure.

If Mehsud was killed, it means that U.S. cooperation with Pakistan is "having a good effect and that we're moving in the right direction," Jones said. "Mehsud was a very bad individual, a real thug responsible for a lot of violence, a lot of innocent people losing their lives."

A top Pakistani official said the government has information that a leading candidate to replace Mehsud was killed in a gunfire exchange Saturday between supporters of senior Taliban leaders.

Jones said the United States does not know if that is accurate. But, he added, "if there is dissension within the ranks... this is a positive indication that in Pakistan things are turning for the better."

Filed under: Jim Jones • Pakistan
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Operation Crush Rush

    Now all they have to do is go to Saudi Arabia and get the big cheese that has been hiding out there with the rest of his family.Hes not in a cave,and anyone who thinks he is needs a checkup from the neckup.

    August 9, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Chris

    Of course the Republicans won't give the President any credit for eliminating terrorists.

    August 9, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Nicholas

    Once again, Obama beats his critics on defence. Like he said during campaign, "If I have information that Osama is in Pakistan, I would do whatever possible to kill or capture him" Now he did it with Meshud. God bless the president.


    August 9, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Nicholas

    Believe me likes of Sarah Palin and John Bolton will tell you Obama was slow to kill him.

    August 9, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Gerry

    See George Bush's plan has been adopted by Obama and it works.

    August 9, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. jwadvocate

    Wait, something positive came out of U.S. military action while Obama was in office? Surely you jest.

    Watch republicans do all they can to refuse him the credit.

    August 9, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Jane

    Shameful that these wars are not ending. It is terribly sad that innocent people these drones kill.

    August 9, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Jane

    correction: the innocent people

    August 9, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Bpin

    So, now can our military just pack up their bags and come home or are they to stick around and fight another centuries old religous war? Oh, "yes we can" erase these feelings of hate that have been in these countries for centuries in 6 months. Salesmanship.

    August 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. No Drama

    President Obama is not to be triffled with.

    The GOP likes to paint the Democrats as "weak" and Barack Obama as a "bleeding heart", liberal elitist but the fact is that the president is a bad mutha.

    Seems those Somali pirates, and now this Taliban Mehsud, know the real deal.

    August 9, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. kate

    the big cheese is in Saudi Arabia? and your reliable source for that information is?

    August 9, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. No Hillary = No Obama

    Belief is not proof. Remember they also believed bin Laden was dead. We have to go back to bibilical times – bring me the head of Mehsud –

    August 9, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. nea-nea

    I always heard if you get the kill the head then the rest will follow with that said its a start.

    August 9, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Thinking Voter

    It's the neo conservatives with their weapon caches and the idiots in the media that inspire them that I worry about.

    August 9, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. 60's survivor

    step by step. now we are going in right direction. if not for the Iraq distraction this would most likely be done by now. but. everyone was afraid to stand up to bush without being labled as unamerican. that is the truth. I salute those who did protest for the right reasons. not like the bafoons making up all the lies about healthcare reform. those are the unpatriotic ones!! if you can't speak the truth keep you mouth shut!

    August 9, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |