CBSN

Suspected U.S. drone strike kills Taliban loyalists in Pakistan

Generic Missile Drone Pakistan
CBS/ AP
Generic Missile Drone Pakistan
CBS/ AP

ISLAMABAD - A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's south Waziristan region along the Afghan border on Thursday killed five commanders loyal to Maulvi Nazir, a notorious Taliban militant leader, a Pakistan intelligence official and a Western diplomat told CBS News.

The casualties included Hazrat Omar, a brother of Nazir, the Pakistani intelligence official said. The attack targeted a jeep in which the five men were traveling. Nazir and his followers have fought Pakistan's military troops deployed in the border region.

According to the Pakistani intelligence official who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on record, "the attack hit a moving vehicle. This is a significant loss to Mullah Nazir's faction".

The attack comes at a time when both Pakistani and Western officials have said relations between the CIA, which operates the U.S. drone program and Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) counter-espionage agency, have been repaired after going through a series of setbacks earlier this year. The most significant such setback took place after U.S. Special Forces on tracked and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan's northern city of Abbottabad.

"Such a precise attack as the one that has killed Mullah Nazir's brother could not have taken place without close cooperation between the CIA and the ISI," said a Western diplomat in Islamabad who spoke on condition of anonymity. "This attack provides an example of the kind of cooperation that seems to be taking place on background."