A US drone strike killed Waliur Rehman, the second-in-command of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the North Waziristan region on Wednesday. Six other people also died in the attack, local media reported.
Waliur Rehman was believed to have been the TTP’s head for financial affairs and a key figure who would have eventually succeeded the current TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud and headed the militant outfit, say observers.
The attack came a day after incoming prime minister Nawaz Sharif told the media that he was against drone attacks and would take up the matter with the US government. Sharif was reacting to a speech by President Obama earlier this week in which the US President had justified the use of drones in its war against terrorists based in Pakistan and other parts of the world.
The death of Waliur Rehman is seen as a victory in Pakistan’s war against militants. Pakistan’s military is fighting a war against militants for the past four years and the death of a TTP leader is a welcome development. However, the Pakistan Foreign Office was cautious in its reaction to the attack.
In its statement, the Foreign Office termed the drone attack a violation of the country’s soverignty and of international law. Waliur Rehman’s death comes at a time when Nawaz Sharif has said that he is in favour of dialogue with the TTP.Rehman was a key commander of the TTP say analysts. Originally from Faisalabad where he completed his formal education, Rehman went to a Masrassa in North Waziristan before formally joining the TTP in 2004.