PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A US drone strike killed the number two of the Pakistan Taliban, Wali-ur-Rehman, in North Waziristan region on Wednesday, three security officials said in what would be a major blow in the fight against militancy.
Wali-ur-Rehman had been poised to succeed Hakimullah Mehsud as leader of the Pakistan Taliban, a senior army official based in the South Waziristan tribal region, the group's stronghold, said in December.
The Pakistani Taliban are a separate entity allied to the Afghan Taliban. Known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), they have launched devastating attacks against the Pakistani military and civilians.
Drone casualties are difficult to verify. Foreign journalists must have permission from the military to visit the tribal areas along the Afghan border.
Taliban fighters also often seal off the sites of drone strikes immediately so Pakistani journalists cannot see the victims.