First strike after general elections in Pakistan
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) second-in-command Wali-ur Rehman is said to have been killed in a drone attack in North Waziristan in the wee hours of Wednesday.
Multiple reports from the Federally Administered Tribal Area quoted security personnel as confirming the death of Rehman, calling it a major breakthrough against the TTP which has been carrying out attacks inside the country at will.
The TTP — which is usually very quick at informing the media — has not said anything about the attack. Dawn.com said his death was also confirmed by tribal sources.
This is the first drone attack inside Pakistan after the general elections on May 11, and after U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy statement last week reworking parameters of the policy overseeing the controversial drone strikes.
According to security officials, the attack killed seven suspected terrorists. Last year, there were reports of a split in the TTP leadership with Rehman being tipped to replace Hakimullah Mehsud as the head of the terrorist outfit. In September 2010, the U.S. State Department had declared both as Specially Designated Global Terrorists and a $5-million award was announced for any information that could lead to their arrest.
A Mehsud tribesman from South Waziristan, Rehman was believed to be the TTP’s main strategist. As per details trickling in from the tribal area, the drone attack that killed him was on a compound in the Chashma area of Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan.
There was no official confirmation about his death but the Foreign Office issued a statement condemning the drone attack. It expressed “serious concerns” about the U.S. drone attack.