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Pakistan minister says Taliban leader Mehsud dead

2Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud speaks to reporters in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region in this May 24, 2008 file photo.

Pakistan minister says Taliban leader Mehsud dead

LONDON (Reuters) – Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday it was “pretty certain” Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a missile attack two days ago.

“It is pretty certain now that he is dead. Various government agencies have reported so, his own followers have said so, there are people who have been to the funeral and are witness to the burial,” Qureshi told BBC radio.

“It is a significant development. He was the principal personality leading the Taliban movement in Pakistan,” Qureshi said, predicting an internal power struggle for his succession.

“It will be difficult to replace him in the short run because he had a lot of command, he had popularity which no other Taliban leader enjoys. He had quite a firm grip on various factions and there is no other personality who could replace him.”

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