A former spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban says an al-Qaida commander killed by a CIA drone strike played an important role in the 'war against America.'

Azam Tariq told The Associated Press by phone Thursday that the "martyrdom" of Ahmed Farouq was a great loss.

Speaking from an undisclosed location in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal region, Tariq says he "personally knew" Farouq, and described him as the deputy chief of al-Qaida's South Asian affiliate. He says Farouq had "a very important role in the war against America."

The U.S. government earlier revealed that Farouq and another U.S.-born militant, as well as an American and an Italian held hostage by al-Qaida, were inadvertently killed by CIA drone strikes earlier this year.