The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been killed in a US drone strike sources are confirming to the BBC.
BBC News - Hakimullah Mehsud killed by drone, Pakistan Taliban say
While his killing is being given a mixed reception in a Pakistani media loathe to cast accolades onto the United States, it is never the less being viewed with quiet optimism. Efforts to forge a political understanding with the Taliban have been fruitless with Mehsud being a consistent opponent of the government and unwilling to scale back large scale terror attacks. Splinter commanders like Khan Said Sajna are being touted as possible successors who will be more willing to engage with Islamabad. It is unclear how Washington and the Pentagon would view this development but with involvement being scaled back in Afghanistan the US approach may have changed. Or not.
Either way this strike reaffirms the overwhelming utility of drones as a means for maintaining an aggressive and persistent campaign against the al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and its Islamist affiliates with great precision. In conjunction with the dramatically revised numbers coming out of Pakistan on civilian death tolls (which are in line with major studies and tallies conducted by RAND, LWJ, NAF, etc) will likely do much to neuter the effect of the recent HRW and UN reports. Indeed the revised numbers had already done much to do so.