ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR, Pakistan - The head of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a US drone strike on Friday, security and Taliban sources said, in a blow to the fragmented movement fighting against the nuclear-armed South Asian nation.
Hakimullah Mehsud was one of the most wanted and feared men in Pakistan with a $5 million US bounty on his head, leading an insurgency from a mountain hideout in North Waziristan, the Taliban's stronghold on the Afghan frontier.
"We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack," a senior Taliban commander said.
In Washington, two US officials confirmed Mehsud's death in a CIA drone strike. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
The killing is the latest setback for the Pakistani Taliban, a group aligned with their Afghan namesakes, who have staged attacks against Pakistani armed forces and civilians in their fight to topple the government.