“Good Taliban” leader’s death a significant blow, Pentagon says

Pentagon officials said the death of senior Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir, if true, would be a serious hit to terrorist groups in Pakistan fighting against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Nazir’s death by a U.S. drone missile strike was reported early Thursday by the Associated Press out of Pakistan. Pentagon officials typically do not comment on such drone strikes, which usually are carried out by the CIA and not the military, and on Thursday would not confirm the incident.

But George Little, Pentagon press secretary, did not hesitate to say Nazir’s death “would be a significant blow.” Little said he was unable to confirm Nazir's death independently, as of Thursday morning.

Nazir was believed to have an agreement with Pakistani authorities and was tolerated there because he directed attacks only at American and Afghan targets, and not Pakistanis, according to several reports. For that, Nazir is described in Thursday headlines as one of the “good Taliban” inside Pakistan, and the “sole” Taliban leader there willing to be a potential ally to Pakistani leaders, who remain frustrated the CIA targeted him.

In the Pentagon, Little was unapologetic.

"This is someone who has a great deal of blood on his hands," he said.

S.S MIRZA/AFP/Getty Images