According to information collected by the Conflict Monitoring Center from different sources it is revealed that on November 1, 2013 at 6:38 p.m. Pakistan Standard Time a CIA operated unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) fired two missiles on a vehicle, which had just approached a house in Danday Darpa Khel area of Tehsil Miranshah of North Waziristan tribal agency. There were six people in the vehicle and one was outside the vehicle who had opened the door to receive Hakeemullah Mehsud, head of TTP who had arrived there to conduct an organizational meeting. All these seven people were killed on the spot. The dead included;
1. Hakeemullah Mehsud Head of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
2. Wali Badsha (Gunman of Hakeemullah Mehsud)
3. Abdullah Mehsud (Driver of Hakeemullah’s vehicle)
4. Tariq Mehsud (Gunman of Hakeemullah)
5. Sameedullah Mehsud (militant)
6. Saheel Mehsud (militant)
7. Wali Muhammad (uncle of Hakeemullah and commander of TTP)
All the bodies were shattered into pieces. Sources said that only Hakeemullah’s head was recovered while rests were unrecognizable. All the pieces of the bodies were collected and buried at 2:30 am midnight in Danday Darpa Khel graveyard.
Why Hakeemullah was killed?
There are three hypotheses about Hakeeullah’s death in drone attacks.
1. Government of Pakistan and most of the Pakistani media outlets blame U.S. that the drone attack was aimed at derailing peace process which Pakistani government had initiated after an All Party Conference on September 9, 2013. General notion is that the U.S. does not want a peace deal between Pakistan and the militants operating in FATA because such an agreement can shift the focus of TTP and other militant groups towards Afghanistan, which will further deteriorate already volatile security situation in war torn country. Especially, during withdrawal of foreign forces an influx of TTP militants into Afghanistan can be lethal for international efforts to bring peace and security to the country. Another aspect is also highlighted that in case of any peace agreement between Pakistani Taliban and their government pressure on Pakistan’s military and intelligence service will be released. This can provide Pakistan more options to further its game plan in Afghanistan. Certain quarters in the West, particularly in U.S., continuously blame Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for supporting Afghan Taliban. They also accuse ISI that it plays double role with the west. Any peace deal in FATA can effectively disengage ISI and Pakistani military from domestic conflict and they can play their cards in a better way in Afghanistan. Obviously, U.S. would not let that happen.
2. Some conspiracy theorists used to blame that TTP and Hakeemullah Mehsud were working for CIA. Now they say that while leaving Afghanistan, United States is carrying away all its assets but those who cannot be carried away are being destroyed. Hakeemullah was such an asset, which had become liability therefore; he was ‘disposed of’.
3. The major reason in which CMC believe has more weight than any other theory is that Hakeemullah Mehsud was the mastermind of the most lethal attack in the history of the CIA. In CIA’s own words
“On 30 December 2009, a Jordanian physician named Humam Khalil al-Balawi arrived to much anticipation, at a CIA base near Khost, Afghanistan. The CIA officers there had been instructed by higher officials to greet Balawi as a welcomed guest, so he breezed through the initial security cordons. Although little was actually known about Balawi and no CIA personnel had met him, his impending arrival had been briefed all the way to President Barack Obama. Balawi promised great intelligence windfalls about al-Qaeda. Instead, a tragedy occurred: Balawi detonated his heavy explosives vest, killing seven CIA officers, two other personnel, and himself. This was the most deadly strike against the CIA in 25 years.”
Hakeemullah Mehsud had claimed responsibility of the attack and stated that the attack would avenge the killings of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike in August 2009. On January 9, 2010, the Pakistani television network AAJ TV showed a video that had been released by the Tehrik-i-Taliban. The video showed al-Balawi, sitting beside Hakimullah Mehsud, vowing to avenge the death of the Pakistan Taliban leadership: “We will never forget the blood of our Amir, Baitullah Mehsud. We will always demand revenge for him inside America and outside.”
On 1 September 2010, the United States added Hakeemullah Mehsud to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists and the TTP to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The FBI posted a reward of $5 million for information leading to his capture. Charges leveled by the FBI against Hakeemullah Mehsud are stated on its website as;
Hakimullah Mehsud is wanted for his alleged involvement in the December 30, 2009 bombing of a United States military base located near the Afghan town of Khost, that lies along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The blast from the explosion killed seven United States citizens and injured six other United States citizens. The explosion occurred after a suicide bomber entered the military base and detonated a device that was hidden under his clothing. On August 20, 2010, Mehsud was charged federally with conspiracy to murder a United States National while outside the United States and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against a National of the United States while outside the United States. That same day, a federal warrant was issued by the United States District Court, District of Columbia, for Mehsud’s arrest. On September 1, 2010, the United States added Hakimullah Mehsud to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists and the TTP to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction, in any country, of Hakimullah Mehsud.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Choudhry Nisar Ahmad has disclosed after the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud that U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan made it clear to Pakistan that U.S. would never spare Hakeeumllah from drone strikes.
U.S. apparently decided to eliminate Hakeemullah well before any peace deal so that targeting him may not become complex in future. In addition, Pakistan is putting enormous pressure on U.S. to cease drone strikes in Pakistan. Before ceasing drone strikes and before success of any peace agreement U.S. successfully targeted their one of the most wanted person. In short, it can be said that Hakeemullah Mehsud was killed in a ‘revenge attack’ by the CIA.
When Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike, Hakeemullah took revenge by killing CIA agents in Afghanistan. Now only time will tell what will be the course of action of Hakeemullah’s successor? Nevertheless, revenge attacks are an obvious outcome. Only the exact direction of these attacks is not clear until dust settles down TTP’s new Amir is selected. If Saeed Sajjna becomes head, then there are chances that U.S. will have to feel some heat in adjacent areas with Waziristan. And if Abdul Wali a.k.a. Umer Khalid or Molvi Fazlullah becomes head of the TTP then Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence agencies will have to face the music.