Taliban Terrorist Targets Washington
In a land where anonymity provides the best security, why would Mehsud go public? For starters, he's being squeezed. Pakistan intelligence agencies have begun an effective psychological warfare campaign against Mehsud, with local papers reporting on his power struggles with Afghan Taliban and his alleged cooperation with Pakistan's security forces. As recently as February, Pakistan's Business Recorder stated: "Chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Baitullah Mehsud has stopped his support in strategic planning and training to Taliban groups, operating in different areas of Fata and Swat." Cutting off the hand that has fed him is a potential death sentence for Mehsud.
While this information is almost certainly untrue, it is an effective way to create mistrust between two terrorist groups -- the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban -- already suspicious of one another over allegiance and goals. It paves the way for dissent within Mehsud's ranks and makes room for snitches to provide information about their leader's exact whereabouts, which is the necessary first step in locating him with a Predator drone.
In vying for pole position among competing Taliban warlords, perhaps Mehsud recognized that by securing a place in the press he might also secure his place in the terrorist hierarchy. How quickly up-and-coming terrorists forget the actions of other narcissistic terrorist leaders who lived and died before them. Remember Abu Masab al-Zarqawi? His barbaric videotaped beheadings made him a public figure throughout the world, but someone snitched and U.S. airstrikes killed him.
One more important question remains. Can Mehsud's deadly assassins -- committing low-technology attacks using handguns, grenades, and suicide vests -- really reach Washington, D.C.?