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US Drone Strike Kills Top Pakistani Taliban Commander



Pakistani officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed the number two commander of the Pakistani Taliban, in what would be a major blow to the militant group.

Officials say Waliur Rehman was among at least six people killed Wednesday by the strike in the lawless North Waziristan region of northwestern Pakistan.

Security sources say an unmanned aircraft launched missiles into a house in a village near Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan. The area along the Afghan border is a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants.

Taliban sources denied reports that Rehman was hurt in the strike.

The U.S. government had offered up to a $5 million reward for information leading to Rehman's location, while Pakistan's government had a $500,000 bounty on him.

Pakistan expressed concerns about the attack, saying such strikes are counter-productive, kill innocent civilians and violate national sovereignty.



This is the first drone strike since Pakistan's May 11th general election, in which the use of the unmanned aircraft was a controversial topic.

Incoming Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called the drone strikes a challenge to his country's sovereignty.

U.S. President Barack Obama indicated last week he is scaling back the drone strike program.

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Robert L. Thomas Jr. (C),  Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet talks with Chinese general Yuan Yubo (L) at a port in Qingdao, during the U.S. Seventh Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) visit to China, Shandong province, August 5, 2014.

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