"He took strategic guidance from [al Qaeda's] top leadership and translated it into operational blueprints for prospective terrorist attacks," the official said.

"He maintained relationships with al-Qaeda's allies in East Africa, such as the terrorist group al-Shabab."

The Pakistani officials said that Tuesday's attack targeted a car in Aspalga village, about 12km southeast of Miranshah, the main town of the North Waziristan tribal district, which borders Afghanistan.

North Waziristan neighbours South Waziristan, where Pakistan deployed about 30,000 troops in October as part of its offensive against the Taliban, which is considered to have links to al-Qaeda.