Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said the death of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has destroyed the country’s nascent peace process.
“This is not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said.
Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest over Friday’s drone strike that killed Hakimullah Mehsud.
The move came a day before a Pakistani delegation had been due to fly to North Waziristan to meet Hakimullah Mehsud.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused the US of “scuttling” efforts to begin peace talks, and said “every aspect” of Pakistan’s co-operation with Washington would be reviewed.
Information Minister Pervez Rashid said: “The US has tried to attack the peace talks with this drone but we will not let them fail.”
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif had pledged to talk with the Taliban to try to end its campaign of violence, which has left thousands dead in bombings and shootings across the country.
Hakimullah Mehsud was killed along with four other people – including two of his bodyguards – when four missiles struck their vehicle in the north-western region of North Waziristan, a senior Taliban official confirmed.
Pakistani media say Hakimullah Mehsud’s funeral has taken place at an unknown location in the tribal area of North Waziristan.
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Azam Tariq, vowed revenge, as Pakistan’s security forces were put on high alert.
“Every drop of Hakimullah’s blood will turn into a suicide bomber,” he said.
“America and their friends shouldn’t be happy because we will take revenge for our martyr’s blood.”
The Taliban’s ruling council met on Saturday to choose a new leader. Unconfirmed reports say regional commander Khan Said Sajna has been elected to the top job.
As well as Hakimullah Mehsud, the previous Pakistan Taliban leader was killed in a drone strike, in 2009.
Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the US president’s National Security Council, would not comment on any US government involvement or confirm the death but said it would be a serious loss for the group.
The Pakistan government has strongly condemned the drone attack as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Hakimullah Mehsud’s death is seen as another setback for the militant group after the recent capture of a senior commander by US forces in Afghanistan.
Hakimullah Mehsud, who led the insurgency from North Waziristan, had a $5 million FBI bounty on his head and was thought to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.
He came to prominence in 2007 as a commander under the militant group’s founder Baitullah Mehsud, with the capture of 300 Pakistani soldiers adding to his prestige among the militants.