Pakistani Taliban chief killed in drone strike, possibly scuttling peace talks
A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed Hakimullah Mehsud (center), the head of the Pakistani Taliban, on Friday, security sources told Reuters. (REUTERS/Reuters TV/Files)
In Washington, two U.S. officials confirmed Mehsud's death in a CIA drone strike. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
The death will likely scuttle the immediate prospect of peace talks between the Taliban and the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who won a landslide election victory in May by promising to bring peace to Pakistan.
The nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people has been plagued by militant violence, including the homegrown Taliban insurgency that has cost tens of thousands of lives.
On Friday, several intelligence, army and Taliban sources across Pakistan said Mehsud, believed to be in his mid-30s, had been killed in the drone strike in North Waziristan. Four security officials confirmed his death to Reuters. His bodyguard and driver were also killed, they said.
Mehsud had been attending a gathering of 25 Taliban leaders to discuss the government's offer of talks, they said.
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