Pakistani official confirms Taliban leader's death

Updated: 2011-01-01 21:06
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ISLAMABAD - A minister in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province Saturday confirmed the death of a top Taliban commander in a US drone strike in the tribal region.

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Qari Hussain Mehsud, the mastermind of Taliban suicide bombers, was reportedly killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan tribal region in the first week of October.

However, there had been no official or Taliban confirming of the reports aired by local television channels.

Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed the death of Qari Hussain Mehsud, according to Geo television.

The television said that the minister also confirmed the killing of another Taliban leader Azmatullah. He said the government would succeed to eliminate militants in 2011.

Qari Hussain Mehsud had been running a training camp for suicide bombers in South Waziristan and had been active in violent acts against the Pakistani government.

He had claimed responsibility of two suicide attacks on the procession of Shia Muslims in the cities of Lahore and Quetta in September 2010 in an audio message.

Qari Hussain Mehsud was a cousin of Hakimullah Mehsud, the chief of Pakistani Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

There had been some reports of his death on several occasions in the past but all these reports were not correct.

The Pakistani government had announced a 10 million rupee ($117, 000) reward for the killing or capture of Qari Hussain Mehsud.