WASHINGTON (Agencies) - A drone operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) killed Al-Qaedas second-ranking operative in the mountains of Pakistan earlier this month, an American official said on Saturday, further weakening a terror network that has been reeling since the killing of Osama bin Laden earlier this year, reported New York Times on Saturday. The official said that a drone strike on Aug 22 killed Atiyah Abdul Rahman, a Libyan who in the last year had taken over as Al-Qaedas top operational planner. Mr Rahman was in frequent contact with bin Laden in the months before the terror leader was killed in May by a team of Navy Seals, intelligence officials have said. American officials described Mr Rahmans death as particularly significant as compared to other high-ranking Qaeda operatives who have been killed because he was one of a new generation of Qaeda leaders that the network hoped would assume greater control after bin Ladens death. Thousands of electronic files captured at bin Ladens compound in Abbottabad, revealed that bin Laden communicated frequently with Mr Rahman. They also showed that bin Laden relied on Mr Rahman to get messages to other Qaeda leaders and to transmit bin Ladens messages to the wider world. After bin Laden was killed, Mr Rahman became Qaedas No 2 figure under Ayman Al Zawahiri, who succeeded bin Laden. There were few details on Saturday about the strike that killed Mr Rahman. In the months since bin Ladens death, the CIA has maintained a steady barrage of drone missile strikes on mountainous redoubts in Pakistan, a bombing campaign that continues to strain Americas already turbulent relationship with Pakistan.