Afghan Taliban Leader Killed In Drone Strike | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Afghan Taliban Leader Killed In Drone Strike

Posted: May 22, 2016 at 9:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed in a drone strike, the group has confirmed.

The strike, which was authorised by US President Barack Obama, is also thought to have killed another combatant, an American official added.

Multiple US drones targeted the men as they rode in a vehicle in a remote area in Pakistan along its border with Afghanistan, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal, the official said.

The strike took place at around 6am EDT (11am UK time), which would have placed it around 3pm on Saturday in Pakistan.

A State Department official said both Pakistan and Afghanistan were told about the strike, but did not disclose whether they were notified prior to it being carried out.

Mansour’s death was later confirmed by a senior Taliban commander.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement that Mansour “has been the leader of the Taliban and actively involved with planning attacks against facilities in Kabul and across Afghanistan, presenting a threat to Afghan civilians and security forces, our personnel, and Coalition partners”.

Mansour was appointed leader of the Taliban in July 2015 following the revelation that the group’s founder, Mullah Omar, had been dead for two years.

He added that officials were still assessing the results of the drone strike and would provide more information when available.

Mansour’s death could have implications for stalled peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Mr Cook said Mansour had prohibited Taliban leaders from taking part in peace talks with the Afghan government.

A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday: “The raid was done in agreement with Afghan authorities. It seems to be successful. We are assessing for confirmation.

“Our hope and understanding is that in the wake of these new developments an Afghan-led peace process would result in bringing lasting peace and stability,” he said.