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Pakistani Taliban Leader Dead in Suspected Drone Strike

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A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed at least three people including Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

Pakistani security officials speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed Mehsud's death following Friday's attack in Miram Shah, in North Waziristan province. Reports say supporters are flocking to the region for his funeral on Saturday.

Several sources confirmed to VOA reporters in Pakistan that the targeted compound had been used by Mehsud. It was at first unclear whether he was in the house at the time of the strike.



The village is the stronghold of the Haqqani network, which routinely targets NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

The FBI has a $5 million FBI bounty on Mehsud, who was thought to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.

The attack is the second after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to the U.S. last month, when he pushed for an end to drone strikes. Most Pakistanis consider the drone strikes to be a violation of the country's sovereignty.

A hard-line religious group protested the strikes Friday in Islamabad and Lahore.

The strike also comes after Mr. Sharif said Thursday that peace talks with the Taliban have started.

Mr. Sharif's comments came during a meeting with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in London Thursday.

Mr. Sharif said the talks must take place within Pakistan's constitutional framework but offered no details.

In a rare interview, Mehsud told the BBC last month that he was "open to talks."

The Pakistani Taliban openly criticizes the country's constitution and demands a much stricter version of Islamic law than allowed in the constitution.

Pakistan has been hit by extremist violence in recent years and the Taliban has claimed responsibility for a majority of attacks that have taken thousands of lives.

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