Describing Baitullah Mehsud's reported death in a US drone attack as a "devastating blow" to Taliban, the Pakistani media, nevertheless, warned today that a final victory in the war on terror could be years away and asked the security forces to brace up for possible retaliatory strikes by militants.
The militants could mount retaliatory attacks and suicide bombings despite being in a state of disarray following the killing of Mehsud, the supreme commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, according to leading newspapers here.
The influential 'Dawn' newspaper, which ran the headline 'Good riddance, killer Baitullah' on its front page, described Mehsud as "public enemy no. 1, scourge of the security establishment and commander of what seemed to be an endless supply of suicide bombers."
"If he is indeed dead – and many credible sources have independently suggested that he is in fact dead – then a devastating blow has been struck right at the heart of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan...," it said in an editorial.
'The News', in its editorial titled 'Taken out', cautioned that Mehsud's "death is a success but does not represent a war won, which is yet far off and perhaps years away."
It said the "greatest battle will to be to win back the predominantly youthful hearts and minds that (Mehsud's) perverted view of the world and of Islam had turned to dark thoughts and dark ways – win that battle and we will truly have won the war."