Drone kills top Taliban leader

Article Highlights

  • Wali-ur-Rehman was reportedly killed on May 29 in a U.S. drone strike.

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  • Wali-ur-Rehman's death is a blow to enemy and will have significant impact on Pakistani Taliban's leadership.

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  • Wali ur-Rehman's death may also suggest a changed view of Pakistani Taliban among US & Pakistani intelligence agencies.

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Wali-ur-Rehman, top Pakistani Taliban leader and al Qaeda ally, was reportedly killed on May 29 in a U.S. drone strike. His death is a serious blow to the enemy and will have a significant impact on the Pakistani Taliban's leadership. It may also suggest a changed view of the nature of the Pakistani Taliban among U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The strike reportedly occurred on the morning of May 29 in the village of Chashma, some three kilometers from Miram Shah, the district headquarters of Pakistan's tribal areas' infamous North Waziristan agency. Seven people were reported killed in the strike, Rehman included, and four were wounded. The other six killed were reportedly members of the main Pakistani Taliban faction, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or allied Uzbek militants. Rehman's death has been “confirmed” by several Pakistani intelligence officials and other tribal sources, but the TTP's own official spokesperson so far denies having received reports of his death. The Pakistani government condemned the drone strike, saying that it violated Pakistani sovereignty; the condemnation was issued before reports of Rehman's death emerged, however. The strike was the first inside Pakistan since April 17 and the first since Pakistan's historic general elections on May 11.

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