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Top Haqqani Leader Confirmed Killed in Pakistan


The United States says a top leader in the Haqqani network militant group who played a central role in attacking coalition forces has been killed in Pakistan.

A U.S. official said Janbaz Zadran, also known as "Jamil", was killed Thursday near the Haqqani stronghold of Miram Shah in North Waziristan. He said Zadran is the most senior Haqqani leader in Pakistan to be taken off the battlefield.

The official said that Zadran played a central role in helping the Haqqani network attack U.S. and coalition targets in Kabul and southeastern Afghanistan.

Earlier Thursday, Pakistani intelligence officials said that a U.S. drone strike killed a senior Haqqani member. They said at least three other militants also were killed when the unmanned aircraft fired missiles at a Haqqani compound in the village of Dande Darpa Khel.

The Pakistani officials identified the man killed in Thursday's attack as Jalil Haqqani - an important Afghan commander of the militant network reportedly based in the North Waziristan tribal region who was very close to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the militant network.

A second drone strike Thursday killed six militants in South Waziristan. The attacks occurred as the U.S. special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, met with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad.

Grossman told reporters that he and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar talked about the future and how to continue the ongoing dialogue between Pakistan and the United States. He said they agreed to continue to find "issues that we share with Pakistan -- and there are many - and act jointly on them."

The U.S. envoy also met with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who said the cooperation must expand beyond counterterrorism to areas such as trade, water, power and infrastructure. Grossman and Pakistani leaders also discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

Thursday's talks come during heightened tensions between Pakistan and the United States.

Last month, senior U.S. officials accused Pakistan's military spy agency of helping the Haqqani network launch attacks in Afghanistan, including an assault on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Pakistan has denied the allegations.

In other violence in Pakistan, gunmen opened fire on a convoy of at least five NATO oil tankers Thursday in the Shikarpur area of southern Sindh province. The trucks caught on fire.

Militants often attack vehicles carrying fuel and other supplies to international troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, police in the capital Islamabad say they seized a large cache of arms from a vehicle and arrested two people.

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