Head of Pakistan Taliban killed in US drone strike

The head of the Taliban in Pakistan was killed along with five other militants in a U.S. drone strike on Friday. 

Hakimullah Mehsud and five other Taliban members were reportedly leaving a mosque outside the Dande Darpakhel area of North Waziristan when their vehicle was hit, intelligence officials in Peshawar confirmed to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn

The Taliban leader's driver, Abdullah Bahar Mehsud and personal bodyguard Tariq Mehsud were also killed in the drone strike, Pakistani intelligence officials said Friday. 

At least 25 people were killed in the massive drone strike, recent reports from the region state. 

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Friday's drone strike comes a day after three suspected militants were killed and three other individuals were wounded in a drone attack outside Miranshah, in northwest Pakistan. 

Miranshah, the pseudo capital of North Waziristan, is miles from Dande Darpakhel and is reportedly the main stronghold of the Taliban's Pakistani cell. 

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to comment on the drone strike, referring all queries to the Pentagon. 

The Taliban had yet to issue a statement on the drone strike and Mehsud's possible death. 

If confirmed, Meshud's death would be a tremendous blow to the Pakistani faction, known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Mehsud has been a top, high-value target of U.S. military and intelligence counterterrorism operations for the past decade. 

American drones have launched multiple drone strikes in North Waziristan and elsewhere along Pakistan's volatile border region with Afghanistan, in an attempt to take out the reclusive Taliban leader. 

Meshud has managed to survive those efforts and evade capture by American and Pakistani forces, continuing to run the organization's terror operations from safe havens in northwest Pakistan. 

Those operations include attacks against military and civilian targets in Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad, as well as cross-border attacks against American and allied forces inside Afghanistan. 

At the time of the drone attack, Mehsud was reportedly in talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to begin peace negotiations between Islamabad and the terror group. 

The talks were announced during a bilateral security summit between Sharif and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in London, hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron. 

"The dialogue with the Taliban has started. He said that he hoped and prayed the dialogue works within the constitutional framework of Pakistan," according to a joint statement by Sharif and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Wednesday. 

Sharif has publicly condemned U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan, claiming the attacks are a violation of the country's sovereignty. 

During recent talks with President Obama in October, Sharif emphasized the fact that continued U.S. drone strikes in the country would accelerate, not eliminate, the rise of Islamic radicalism in the country. 

"The more the drones, the more the terrorists get multiplied. You kill one man, his sons, his father, his brothers — they become terrorists. So this is something that is not helping at all," Sharif said shortly after his meeting with Obama earlier this month. 

But recently leaked CIA documents on U.S. armed drone operations in Pakistan showed Islamabad's direct role in approving, and at times selecting possible targets for American strikes.