Killing Mehsud
August 07, 2009

The reported drone-strike death of the Pakistani Taliban leader (although Robert Gibbs cautions that it's still unconfirmed) is a tremendous short-term score for the U.S. The issue is whether this will be a substantive setback for the Taliban, or whether some new killer will simply take his place and continue business as usual. Peter Bergen examined this very issue in his great TNR piece a few months ago: Daniel Byman, who runs the Security Studies program at Georgetown, has studied the effects that targeted assassinations have on terrorist groups.