US drone strike kills top Pakistan militant | News | DW | 29.05.2013
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US drone strike kills top Pakistan militant

The first US drone strike since Pakistan's general election comes after an announcement by US President Obama that the strikes would be scaled back. The latest attack reportedly killed a top Pakistan militant.

The drone attack occurred on Wednesday in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, which has been the target of anti-terror drone attacks by the US in the past.

Pakistan security officials said Waliur Rehman, the No. 2 commander of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed in the strike, though the militant group denied he was dead. The US had a $5 million (3.86 million euros) bounty on Rehman, who was accused of being involved in a 2009 attack on a US base in Afghanistan that killed seven Americans working for the CIA.

At least five other people were killed in the attack, which comes just a few days after US President Barack Obama said the rules of the US drone program would be reviewed - a move that was received with cautious optimism in Pakistan.

Wednesday's trike also follows general elections in Pakistan earlier this month where the issue of drone strikes was widely discussed.

Incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he would "sit with our American friends and talk about the issue."

The attacks – which were once tolerated by high-level Pakistani military officials – are now unpopular in the country.

North Waziristan lies in Pakistan's border region to Afghanistan and is seen as a safe haven for al Qaeda militants. It is unclear if the people killed in the attack were the intended targets. Exact casualty numbers are also difficult to verify due to extreme restrictions of journalists in the area.

The drone attack targeted a house in Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan.

mz,dr/kms (Reuters, dpa, AP)