"It was a big deal," Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said when asked about the death of Mehsud, against whom the FBI had announced a reward of USD 5 million.

"I feel a little safe, a little better for our troops today than I did before this event happened," Rogers said in response to a question, indicating that the operation was a result of the joint intelligence gathering by both the US and Pakistan.

"I'll tell you why it happened. And by the way, all of those intelligence agencies contributed to leading up to what is a very difficult, long-term collection of all the sources of intelligence to make sure you can find an individual and do something about it," Rogers said.

He said that Mehsud was a bad guy and in 2007, he brought together all of the Pakistan Taliban. "And they wanted to focus on, at that time, the Pakistani military. They have also made threats to the United States, especially Hakimullah Mehsud, who said, hey, listen, we're going to conduct operations in the United States," he said.

"There is a relationship between the gentleman that showed up in Times Square (in New York) and the individual that was taken off the battlefield not a long time ago. This is the guy that's trying to create the problems both for Pakistan, he relates with Afghanistan Taliban. These are the folks that closed 500 schools, most of them girls' schools in the Eastern provinces of Afghanistan," he said.

Rogers said that Mehsud was a part of the Haqqani network, which is basically a giant organized crime group operating in the tribal areas of Pakistan. It has also been involved in supporting al-Qaeda, Taliban and others.

Frederick W Kagan, Director, Critical Threats Project, at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) said Mehsud's importance to the TTP does not mean that his death is a crippling blow to the group and al-Qaeda.

"The TTP has repeatedly bounced back from the death of its most senior leaders and is under less pressure in Pakistan now than it has been in the past."

"The TTP maintains close alliances with al-Qaeda and other militant groups, alliances that do not appear ready to shift as the group deliberates on who will lead it next," he said. Kagan said that the resolute ties mean the group will continue to be dangerous to both Pakistani and US interests in the future.


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