, Salem, MA


May 30, 2013

Drone strike kills top Taliban leader


“For a TTP hit, I have no reason to doubt that the ISI was involved,” said Christine Fair, a Pakistan expert at Georgetown University in Washington.

Waliur Rehman Mehsud’s death comes just before the assumption of power next month of a government led by Nawaz Sharif, a center-right politician who will become the prime minister for a record third time. Sharif based his appeal partly on his demand for an end to drone strikes and a pledge to seek peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.

It’s unclear, however, whether Sharif’s plan has the backing of the powerful army, which ruled the country for half of its 65-year existence and has 150,000 troops in the tribal region, where fighting is underway in three of the seven tribal agencies.

Taking out Waliur Rehman Mehsud, who was seen as more amenable to negotiations than Hakimullah Mehsud, could be a way for the military to short-circuit Sharif’s plans.

“I can imagine that the ISI is not especially happy with Nawaz Sharif’s professions of wanting to open talks with the TTP,” Fair said, pointing out that the militants have repeatedly rejected a demand that they accept Pakistan’s democratic Constitution as a condition for peace. “One way of clipping his wings on this issue is by taking out a senior member of the TTP leadership.”


Legal scholars who question the legality of targeted killings said Mehsud’s killing seemed to contravene the rules that Obama broadly described last week for targeted killings. A key issue concerned the criteria that the administration used in apparently designating Mehsud a target.

Carney and a senior administration official cited Mehsud’s alleged role in the 2009 CIA base bombing and attacks on U.S. and NATO personnel in Afghanistan as one reason he might be targeted. But Obama said in his speech that targeted killings aren’t use to exact revenge, asserting that, “America does not take strikes to punish individuals.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Local News
  • Police: Excessive speed may have been factor in Route 1 crash in Peabody

    Saturday morning at approximately 6 a.m., troopers from the Massachusetts State Police Danvers Barracks responded to a three vehicle crash on Route 1 north in the vicinity of Route 114 in Peabody.

    July 26, 2014

  • Driscoll Gordon College flap nets local LGBT group $12K

    SALEM -- The conservative uproar over Mayor Kim Driscoll's decision to terminate Gordon College's contract to operate Old Town Hall has turned into a cash cow for a local group supporting gay and lesbian youths.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • 140725_SN_DLE_HOUSE4 Middleton builder rescues First Period house in Danvers from demolition

    DANVERS -- Built before 1730, the First Period Benjamin Holten home at 52 Centre St. was a tear down that did not get torn down, the builder who preserved and restored the house said. "They had holes in the roof this big," said builder Michael Panzer

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Tisei Tisei's political funds seek to balance Republican, LGBT loyalties BOSTON -- As Republican Richard Tisei makes a second run for Congress, he has teamed up with other GOP challengers across the country to broaden his support. Earlier this year, he created a joint fundraising committee, the Equality Leadership Fund, w

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Market Basket board to consider Arthur T.'s offer BOSTON -- Market Basket's board of directors announced Friday that it will consider offers to buy the company -- including one from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. His offer will be considered "along with any other offers previously received and to be

    July 26, 2014