Daily Revolt

January 06, 2008

Al Qaeda’s Newest Triggerman

He had nothing to do with Bhutto's assassination, unless he was working on behalf of Musharraf:
How do you track down a foe without a face? That is the challenge posed by Baitullah Mehsud, the man who could well be the newest Enemy No. 1 in the War on Terror. Since he first emerged as a young jihadist leader three years ago, the black-bearded and slow-talking tribal leader has transformed his Mehsud clan's mountainous badlands in the northwest corner of Pakistan into a safe haven for Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and outlawed Pakistani jihadists. Though uneducated, and only in his mid-30s, Baitullah snookered Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf into a fake peace deal two years ago—and even got him to hand over a few hundred thousand dollars. Just as important, Baitullah has learned the hard lessons of previous jihadists who grew too enamored of the spotlight for their own good. According to Afghan Taliban who know him, he travels in a convoy of pickups protected by two dozen heavily armed guards, he rarely sleeps in the same bed twice in a row, and his face has never been photographed. They say his role model is Mullah Mohammed Omar, the equally mysterious Taliban leader who disappeared from view in 2001.

U.S. officials have distanced themselves somewhat from the Pakistani government's swift—perhaps too swift—conclusion that Baitullah was behind the Dec. 27 assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The slain former prime minister's Pakistan Peoples Party also disputed that claim, pointing the finger instead at figures within the government. Even Musharraf toned down previous statements from his own officials definitively assigning blame to Baitullah, and late last week he invited Scotland Yard to help with the investigation.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home