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Pakistan: 3 Top Taliban Commanders Believed Killed

Pakistan says three top Taliban commanders are believed to have been killed in an airstrike.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed Saturday that Taliban commander Fateh Mohammed was among more than 25 militants killed Friday when Pakistani helicopter gunships attacked a hideout in the northwest Mohmand tribal region.

He also told the media he would be "surprised" if senior Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammed and commander Qari Ziaur Rehman made it out alive.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammed is the deputy head of Tehrik-e-Taliban and the group's leader in the Bajaur region next to Mohmand. He is also known for being close to al-Qaida's number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahri.

If confirmed, analysts say the deaths would be a major blow to the Pakistani Taliban, which has killed hundreds of people in attacks throughout Pakistan.

Pakistan is under pressure from the United States to go after its Taliban and al-Qaida linked militants, who also have carried out attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's military says its offensive in the northwestern part of the country has succeeded in destroying numerous militant bases, but attacks on civilians persist.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.