Assassinated terror leader was linked to attacks against U.S.

(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- Less than a week after President Barack Obama laid out a new strategy for U.S. drone strikes, a top terror suspect was targeted in Pakistan. The U.S. isn't saying much, but the Pakistanis say Waliur Rehman was killed.

Taliban No. 2 commander Waliur Rehman talks to The Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan July 28, 2011.
Taliban No. 2 commander Waliur Rehman talks to The Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan July 28, 2011.
AP Photo

Rehman was second in command of the Pakistani Taliban, a terrorist organization with blood on its hands. It claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl who campaigned for women's education.

It was a heinous crime, but because Malala is Pakistani, it did not meet Obama's conditions restricting drone strikes to protecting U.S. citizens.

"We act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people," Obama said last week.

Attacks against Americans are what put a $5 million price on Rehman's head.

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He was linked to the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, which killed more than 50 people and wounded 300 others, including several Americans. He was also tied to the 2009 suicide bombing which killed seven CIA operatives in Afghanistan and, most recently, the 2010 failed attempt to detonate an SUV filled with explosives in Times Square.

Watch: U.S. drone strikes spark anger in Pakistan, below.

Under the new guidelines for drone strikes, there had to be no practical chance of capturing Rehman alive, which also seems to be the case, since he operated along Pakistan's lawless frontier.

But there was one more condition, which Obama stipulated in his speech last week: "Before any strike is taken, there must be near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured -- the highest standard we can set," he said.

Seven people were reported killed in the strike. The CIA has not yet confirmed that one of them was Rehman, but so far, there have been no claims that any civilians were killed.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.

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