Sixteen Afghan Pro-Government Fighters Killed In Taliban Attack

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In announcing the death of Khan Said Sajna, the spokesman for the so-called Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP, said the pre-dawn drone attack occurred on February 8 in the Gorwek area of North Waziristan.

Recently, the terrorist attacks by the Taliban had increased in Afghanistan leading the United States to consider "unilateral steps in areas of divergence" to counter the militants.

Details of the latest USA drone attack emerged as an Afghan delegation led by the neighboring country's deputy foreign minister, Hekmat Khalil Karzai, opened a new round of wide-ranging talks Friday with Pakistani counterparts in Islamabad. His elimination, analysts say, is a major blow to the TPP.

The group's leaders have nominated Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud to take his place, the statement said, adding Mehsud has "undeterring trust" in Pakistani Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah.

Washington has designated Sajna a global terrorist.

Officials in Afghanistan say four operatives of the national intelligence agency have gunned down their 16 colleagues before fleeing to join the Taliban insurgency in the southern Helmand province.

Khalid Mehsud had been the deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban since November 2013, when then-leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed, also by a U.S. drone strike.

More bombing nearly invariably means more civilian casualties, which could further mobilise Afghans against the United States.

Lying south to the Taliban's birthplace Kandahar, Helmand remains one of the most volatile provinces in Afghanistan with militants controlling large swaths of land.

Both the countries routinely accuse each other of supporting militant attacks against their respective soils, fueling tension.