From the Wall Street Journal: A Taliban Takedown. Pakistan has been an early Obama foreign-policy success.
If true, the news that a CIA drone killed Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud last week is a notable victory in the war on terror, both for Pakistan and the U.S. [...] The strike also underscores that Pakistan has been an early Obama Administration foreign-policy success. Only three months ago, the Taliban were marching on Islamabad and U.S. officials were fretting about the lack of Pakistani will to resist Islamist extremism. But the U.S. worked behind the scenes to encourage a counterattack, Pakistan’s military has since retaken the Swat Valley in the north, and Mr. Zardari’s government has put aside some of its petty domestic squabbling to focus on the main enemy.
President Obama has also stepped up the pace of drone attacks, which are now thought to have killed more than a third of the top Taliban leaders. These columns reported a month ago on an intelligence report showing that the strikes are also carried out with little or no harm to civilians.
For cosmetic political reasons, the Obama Administration no longer wants to use the phrase “global war on terror.” Yet in Pakistan and Afghanistan it is fighting a more vigorous war on terrorists than did the previous Administration. Whatever you want to call it, the death of Baitullah Mehsud makes the world a safer place.
If confirmed, this is fantastic news. The upcoming elections in Afghanistan promise to be vibrant, with Karzai and key rival Dr Abdullah Abdullah duking it out over radio in campaign spots, although there are inevitable reports of pre-election shenanigans.