WASHINGTON (CNN) - When the latest apparent U.S. drone strike was conducted this week against militants in Pakistan, the obvious question appeared to be: Did the United States get a "big fish" in the Taliban or al Qaeda organizations?
But a U.S. counterterrorism official says that's now the wrong question to ask, and chances are those hit were not major players. He wouldn't discuss the specifics of the latest strike, but with the official backing of his bosses, he sought to explain how U.S. strategy has changed in the crucial effort to attack targets inside Pakistan with missiles fired from drones. FULL POST
Unlike al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban organization (the Tehrik-i-Taliban or TTP) has shown little appetite for taking its brand of jihadism beyond the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Maybe that's changing.
Certainly that's the case if the messages from the TTP's leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, are to be taken at face value. "From now on," he says in an audio message said to have been recorded in April, "the main targets of our fedayeen [fighters] are American cities. This good news will be heard within some days or weeks. Today onwards, the direction of our jihad is American states and cities. Inshallah we are successful in this mission and objective."