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Pakistani Taliban Leader Dead in US Drone Strike

A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan has killed Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

Pakistani security and U.S. intelligence officials, all speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Mehsud's death Friday in Miram Shah, in North Waziristan province. Reports say supporters are flocking to the region for his funeral Saturday. Two other people were also killed.

Several sources confirmed to VOA reporters in Pakistan the targeted compound was used by Mehsud. The village is the stronghold of the Haqqani network, which routinely targets NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

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

This was the second attack following 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.

The strike also comes after Mr. Sharif said Thursday that peace talks with the Taliban have started. Mr. Sharif said the talks must take place within Pakistan's constitutional framework but offered no details.

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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