ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Pakistani government is accusing the U.S. of sabotaging peace talks with domestic Taliban fighters by killing their leader in a drone strike yesterday.
The slain Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud (hah-kee-MUH'-lah meh-SOOD'), was known for a deadly attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan and a bloody campaign that killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and security personnel.
The Pakistani army has launched numerous operations in the country's northwest in a failed attempt to subdue the group, which aims to topple Pakistan's democratic system and impose a harsh version of Islamic law.
Pakistan's government, which took office in June, has pushed peace talks with the Taliban as the best way to end the conflict, although many people are skeptical a deal is possible.
The drone strike that killed Mehsud in the North Waziristan tribal area came a day before the government was to send a three-member delegation of clerics to the region with a formal invitation to start peace talks.
Pakistan's interior minister called the drone attack "murder" to the peace effort.