U.S. Believes Pakistan's Taliban Leader Is Dead

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

White House national security adviser James Jones says the U.S. is nearly certain that Pakistan's Taliban leader is dead. Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Jones said despite the claims and counterclaims about Baitullah Mehsud's fate, the U.S. is around 90 percent sure he was killed in a CIA missile strike last Wednesday.


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.


And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Renee Montagne is on assignment in Afghanistan.

American officials are becoming more confident in their belief that a Taliban leader is dead. President Obama's National Security Advisor General James Jones spoke yesterday on Fox News Sunday, and you can listen to the way that he changes verb tense when he discusses the Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

General JAMES JONES (National Security Advisor to President Obama): Mehsud is a - was a very bad individual, a real thug responsible for a lot of violence, a lot of innocent people losing their lives. And I think that if there's dissention in the ranks and if, in fact, he is - as we think - dead, this is a positive indication that in Pakistan, things are turning for the better.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from