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Good article by Rebecca whom I met in Afghanistan. The only people the zero option is good for is the Taliban.
Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, TTP, was killed by a drone strike according to BBC, courtesy of 4 Hellfire missiles outside of Miranshah. Though negotiations have been on the table for some time, they were supposed to be coming to fruition very soon. How this will impact that process is anyone’s guess. It was reported previously that Mehsud had agreed to discuss possible negotiations. However also there is the chance that he was merely stalling to wait out ISAF operations due to decrease come 2014. If Mehsud was actually against negotiations then this strike may greatly open the door for the more moderate and negotiation-willing members of the militant group umbrella that Mehsud led.
Khan Said Sajna, is expected to replace Mehsud and is reportedly more apt to engage in negotiations. I am confident Sajna will be removed from the equation fairly soon – say within 90 days.
This strike is not surprising as surely with ISAF pulling back ISAF, Pakistan and Afghanistan are determined to hit the Taliban with everything possible up until the 2014 elections and subsequent NATO “withdrawl”.
Well this sure is an interesting turn of events. Hitherto, the Taliban have been facilitating the drug trade.