A US drone strike killed a Pakistani Taleban leader and two others on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the Taleban said on Thursday, in the latest attack by an unmanned aircraft targeting the Afghan bases of Pakistani Taleban leaders.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed Thursday’s strike on the border between Pakistan’s Kurram agency and Afghanistan.
The strike killed Pakistani Taleban commander Khawray Mehsud, who possessed “great militant skills,” the Taleban said in a statement.
“He was very close to martyred (Pakistani Taleban) chief Hakimullah Mehsud and was his personal bodyguard,” it added.
The Pakistani Taleban are allied with the Afghan militants of the same name and share a similar extremist ideology.
But they operate as a separate entity, focused on toppling the Pakistani state.
The strikes come amid warming relations between the traditionally hostile neighbours, each of whom has accused the other of harbouring insurgents to act as proxy forces.
Relations improved after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was elected last year. Pakistan is supporting potential peace talks between the Afghan government and Afghan Taleban.
Diplomats hope that Pakistan will be able to pressurise the Afghan Taleban to join peace talks, by threatening their bases in the country.
But Pakistan also wants to see action against Pakistani insurgents hiding in Afghanistan.