NEW YORK - In an editorial on the reported killing of Baitullah Mehsud, a major US newspaper said on Monday that the strike against the Taliban leader underscored that Pakistan has been an 'early Obama foreign-policy success in the stepped up campaign against militants. 'If true, the news that a CIA drone killed (Baitullah) last week is a notable victory in the war on terror, both for Pakistan and the US, The Wall Street Journal said. The newspaper said:The fashionable view in anti-terror precincts is that terror leaders are like daisies-mow one down and another will pop up to take his place. But not all leaders are easily replaced, and the charismatic and daring Mehsud is probably one of them. He was by most accounts a key figure in uniting the dozen or so factions of the Taliban under his umbrella group Tehreek-e-Taliban. He is believed to have masterminded a string of bomb attacks that killed hundreds of Pakistanis, including the 2007 assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto. His activities contributed significantly to the broader instability along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and put pressure on Pakistans democratically elected President Asif Ali Zardari. Theres a reason the US had a $5 million bounty on his head. 'Unconfirmed reports over the weekend suggested dissension in Taliban ranks as they choose a successor, including reports of a gun-battle between rivals for the top job. If Mehsud is dead, now is the time for Pakistan to press the advantage in its own campaign in its frontier provinces before a new leader can establish control, the paper added. The paper further said:the attack also shows the continued utility of the US drone campaign along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The CIA-controlled attacks are made with the (non-public) approval of Pakistan, but Pakistan leaders have complained that the US cared only about pursuing Taliban who posed a threat to Afghanistan or the US homeland. Mehsud focused his attacks on Pakistan itself. So the strike should underscore the US argument that the Taliban pose as much a threat to Pakistan as they do to US interests, while reassuring Pakistan officials that the US is willing to use its assets to reduce the Taliban threat to Pakistan. 'The strike also underscores that Pakistan has been an early Obama administration foreign-policy success. Only three months ago, the Taliban were marching on Islamabad and US officials were fretting about the lack of Pakistani will to resist Islamist extremism. But the US worked behind the scenes to encourage a counter-attack, Pakistans military has since retaken the Swat Valley in the north, and Zardaris govt has put aside some of its petty domestic squabbling to focus on the main enemy. President Obama has also stepped up the pace of drone attacks, which are now thought to have killed more than a third of the top Taliban leaders. The paper said that these columns reported a month ago on an intelligence report showing that the strikes are also carried out with little or no harm to civilians. For cosmetic political reasons, the Obama administration no longer wants to use the phrase 'global war on terror. Yet in Pakistan and Afghanistan it is fighting a more vigorous war on terrorists than did the previous administration. Whatever you want to call it, the death of Baitullah Mehsud makes the world a safer place.