A US drone strike targeted a Taliban compound in southern Pakistan today.
Pakistani intelligence officials said that nine Taliban fighters were killed but an al-Jazeera reporter on the scene put the death toll at 16 after eight to 10 missiles hit the South Waziristan target.
The officials said one of the dead was Wali Muhammad Mahsud who headed a wing of the group that trained suicide bombers.
The attack was the third US drone strike in five days. They are hugely unpopular with locals, who say many civilians are killed and they violate Pakistani sovereignty.
Thousands protested against the Wednesday killing of militant commander Nazir. He headed a faction of the Taliban that had agreed to a 2009 ceasefire with the military.
There are fears that his fighters will now turn their guns on the Pakistani army.