But when he was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike on November 1, Islamabad roundly condemned the action, arguing it violated Pakistan's sovereignty and would hamper peace talks.
It has once again brought Pakistan's complicated relationships with terrorism, drones, and the United States to the fore. RFE/RL's Daud Khattak brought an influential senator and two journalists together to discuss the issues and the prospects of future talks with the Pakistani Taliban. Participants included:
Pakistani Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee;
Shaheen Buneri, an RFE/RL correspondent with more than 12 years of experience covering Pakistan's Swat Valley, Peshawar and the tribal regions on the border with Afghanistan; and
Jehangir Khattak, a journalist who covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the rise of the Taliban and upheaval in Pakistan.
WATCH: Pakistan In The Crosshairs