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Taliban withdraws peace talks offer after deputy Wali-ur-Rehman killed

The Pakistani Taliban quickly withdrew earlier offers of peace talks after the reported death of its deputy commander, Wali-ur-Rehman, in a drone strike this week.
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In this photograph taken on October 4, 2009 shows Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud (L) sits with his commander Waliur Rehman (C) during his meeting with media representatives in Sararogha area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border. (Naseer Mehsud/AFP/Getty Images)

The Pakistani Taliban quickly withdrew earlier offers of peace talks after the death of its deputy commander, Wali-ur-Rehman, in a drone strike this week.

Pakistani Taliban deputy leader Wali-ur-Rehman was buried Wednesday, shortly after he was reportedly killed by a US drone strike.

Rehman's death has not been confirmed by the US or Pakistan. The strike that is said to have killed him was the first since Pakistan held elections on May 11.

It is also the first attack since President Barack Obama called for the US drone program to be scaled back amid mounting controversy.

Wednesday's strike targeted the second-in-command of the Pakistani Taliban and four others in the town of Miran Shah in North Waziristan.

More from GlobalPost: Pakistan Taliban's second-in-command reported killed in drone strike

The US had a $5 million bounty on Wali-ur-Rehman's head, after he allegedly participated in the planning of numerous attacks against US forces in Afghanistan, notably the killing of several CIA agents in Khost in 2009.

Rehman's superior, Hakimullah Mehsud, remains at large.

The killing of Rehman poses several problems. First, he was considered more likely to engage in peace talks than Mehsud and his death was swiftly followed by the Taliban's decision to take back its offer of negotiations.

Second, drone strikes are highly unpopular in Pakistan and could weaken the incoming government's position.

Pakistan's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has said he is open to negotiating with the Pakistani Taliban.

Rehman was part of the group Tehrik-i-Taliban, or the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella organization of various militants that operate on both sides of the border.

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