Obama: "We took out" Pakistani Taliban chief

WASHINGTON Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:06am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a live interview on Michael Smerconish's radio program in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a live interview on Michael Smerconish's radio program in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, August 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday "we took out" Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban chief believed to have been killed this month in a missile strike by a U.S. drone.

Obama's comments seemed to go further than other U.S. officials who had said there was a "90 percent certainty" that Mehsud had been killed on Aug. 5, although there was no confirmation.

"You've got the Pakistan army for the first time fighting in a very aggressive way and that's how we took out Mehsud, the top Taliban leader in Pakistan who was also one of Osama bin Laden's key allies," Obama told a radio talk show host in a live broadcast from the White House.

Mehsud was blamed for a wave of bombings across Pakistan, including the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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