WASHINGTON (AP) -- A spokesman for President Barack Obama says the White House cannot confirm the killing of Pakistan's Taliban chief but added that the people of Pakistan are now safer if reports are accurate.
The Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud (BEH'-tuh-luh mah-SOOD'), led a violent campaign of suicide attacks and assassinations against the Pakistani government. A militant commander and aide to Mehsud said Friday that he has been killed in a U.S. missile strike.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday: "We cannot confirm whether he is dead. There seems to be a growing consensus among credible observers that he is indeed dead."
Gibbs described Mehsud as a murderous thug. He said: "If he is dead, without a doubt, the people of Pakistan will be safer as a result."