Friday, August 7, 2009
There are growing indications that Pakistan's most wanted man, Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, has been killed by a US missile.
He is said to have died when a drone targeted the home of a relative.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quresh said there were intelligence reports of the death but the government was seeking "ground verification".
Taliban leaders have gathered in South Waziristan to choose a successor, local sources have told the BBC.
Three names are under consideration and it is possible the Taliban are waiting to choose their new leader before announcing Baitullah Mehsud's death, says Abdul Hai Kakar, a BBC reporter based in Peshawar.
Hakimullah Mehsud, Maulana Azmatullah and Wali-ur-Rehman have been mentioned as possible successors.
People living close to the scene of the missile attack in South Waziristan told the BBC Baitullah Mehsud had been killed along with his wife early on Wednesday.
The remoteness of the location is contributing to the delay in establishing the facts, the BBC's Orla Guerin reports from Islamabad.
A US official said there was "reason to believe reports of his death may be true but it cannot be confirmed".
Previous reports of Baitullah Mehsud's death have proved to be unfounded.
South Waziristan is a stronghold of the Taliban chief, who has been blamed by Pakistan for a series of suicide bomb attacks in the country.