INTERNAL STRUGGLES

Taliban's No. 2 Could Be Dead

It hasn't been a good week for the Taliban. After reports that a U.S. predator drone killed the Taliban's leader, Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistani officials now say a succession battle broke out in South Waziristan that has left the group's no. 2 leader dead, as well. The senior Taliban commander claimed dead, Hakimullah Mehsud, contacted the BBC earlier to say that Mehsud had not been attacked by the U.S. but was "gravely ill" for other reasons, suggesting the Taliban wanted to announce the leader's death soon and was in the process of naming a successor. Now, Hakimullah is reported as one of those killed in a gun battle over who would succeed Mehsud, though journalists were not able to verify this. U.S. National Security Adviser James L. Jones said he's 90 percent sure Mehsud was killed, and Pakistani officials say they have evidence he is dead.