Pakistan summons U.S. ambassador over Taliban leader's death

The Pakistani government summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest over the death of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike, it said on Saturday.

Militant group names new leader after U.S. drone strike

A Pakistani Taliban spokesman on Saturday confirmed that Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike. (Ishtiaq Mehsud/Associated Press)

The Pakistani government summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest over the death of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike, it said on Saturday.
 
A statement from the Foreign Office said Friday's strike was "counter-productive to Pakistan's efforts to bring peace and
stability to Pakistan and the region."

Mehsud was head of the Pakistani Taliban, an insurgent group that has beheaded Pakistani soldiers and killed thousands of civilians in suicide bombings. The group also directed a failed attempt to bomb Times Square in New York.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban on Saturday voted to promote their number two commander, Khan Said, also known as Sajna, to replace Mehsud, militant commanders and security sources said.

Said is believed to have masterminded an attack on a jail in northwest Pakistan that freed nearly 400 prisoners in 2012 and an attack on a Pakistani air force base in the same year.

Mehsud was killed by a U.S. drone in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghan border — along with four others.

He had led an increasingly violent insurgency from a secret hideout in North Waziristan, the Taliban's mountainous stronghold on the Afghan border.

The U.S. had offered $5 million for Mehsud's capture after he appeared in a farewell video with the Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees at a base in Afghanistan in 2009.

The attack occurred on the same day that the Pakistani government announced it was about to send a delegation to North Waziristan to try to get peace negotiations with the Taliban under way.

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