Cyber Security and Emerging Threats Maddalena Vani

US Drone Death for Taliban Leader: The Wrong Move?

The death of Pakistan Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, by US drone aircrafts has re-ignited violent confrontations between the West and terrorist groups. The most controversial issue since the leader’s death has been the reaction of Pakistan and Taliban leaders.


Who are the Taliban?

Emerging in the early 1990s in Northern Pakistan, the Taliban formed an Islamic fundamentalist political movement that initiated in Pakistan and made its way into Afghanistan. While in power, the Taliban enforced strict interpretations of Sharia law, which many Muslims have been deeply critical of. Most importantly, the Taliban have been condemned internationally for their brutal treatment of women. After the 9/11 attacks on the US, the Bush administration announced a War on Terror, which continues to this very day. The Taliban control areas in the North-West frontier and have been blamed for a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks.

Taliban Reactions

The death of Mehsud produced great hatred towards the US. Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, announced that “the murder of Hakimullah is the murder of all efforts of peace. Americans said they support our efforts at peace. Is this support?” In addition, Pakistan Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq stated “every drop of Hakimullah’s blood will return into a suicide bomber. America and their friends shouldn’t be happy because we will take revenge for our martyr’s blood.”

The Consequences of Killing Mehsud

Although the US killed an influential Taliban member, he will easily be replaced by others who are determined to take on the role. Even one of Malala Yousafzai’s attackers is a possible successor.

The death of Mehsud is ill timed. As American and NATO troops are preparing to leave Afghanistan in 2014, the region could return to its chaotic pre-intervention state. The links between the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan are strong, and change in leadership in one region could significantly affect other regimes.

Advances made in terms of women’s rights might be retrenched in the absence of foreign intervention. According to the Pakistan leaders, the US has defied their initiative for peace. It seems that despite US security intentions, the decision to kill Mehsud has only sparked another security crisis in the region.

Maddalena Vani
Maddalena Vani is a Junior Research Fellow Alumni, and 2014 Winter Intern at the NATO Association of Canada. She graduated from York University with a BA Honours (Double Major) in Classical Studies and European Studies. Maddalena is in the 2016 class for the MA in European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. Outside of academics, Maddalena has co-founded a Lions Club in Kleinburg and surrounding Vaughan region, where she is committed to helping those in need, and creating a sphere of young adults who want to be leaders in their community. She is also the Academic Events Coordinator for the 2014 Model NATO Youth Summit. Maddalena is the 2013 recipient of the Ordine al Merito “Order of Merit” Young Achievement Award from the National Congress of Italian-Canadians.