Taliban’s Deputy Chief is Killed by U.S. Drone Strike in Pakistan

Mike O'Brien

The deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Wednesday.

Wali Ur Rehman’s death was confirmed by three Pakistani security officials in the North Waziristan region, part of Pakistan's tribal area near the Afghan border.

The CIA, which carried out the attack, would not comment. It was the first strike since President Obama said last week that drone usage would be limited to targets that pose a "continuing and imminent threat to the American people."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Rehman was the Pakistani Taliban's second in command and chief military strategist.

He said Rehman was connected to the bombing of a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, and "participated in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO personnel and horrific attacks against Pakistani civilians and soldiers."

The attack the first strike by a U.S. drone aircraft since the May 11 election that brought to power Nawaz Sharif .

It was condemned by Pakistani officials who believe it could ruin Islamabad's planned attempt to open peace talks with the Taliban.

Some Pakistani analysts viewed Rehman as a relative moderate who could have helped facilitate such talks.

Saifullah Mahsud, director of the FATA Research Center in Islamabad, said: "I would rather have Wali Ur Rehman alive than dead. Wali Ur Rehman is a reasonable man. It is possible to negotiate with him."