Taliban leader ‘likely killed’ in U.S air strike

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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A statement from Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security is the first confirmation that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour is officially dead. The Afghan Taliban leadership council met on Sunday to discuss succession after US drone strikes in Pakistan targeted and killed the leader late on Friday night (local time). This was also confirmed by Reuters on Monday, who cited two Taliban sources.

On Saturday, the US officials reported that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was targeted and killed. The strikes took place in a remote area of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan.

If confirmed, the death could have major ramifications on the terrorist organisation, with many experts suggesting that such a move could further stall the on-going peace talks between the Taliban and the US.

A Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook confirmed in a statement that the attack had taken place but refused to speculate on Mansour’s fate. In the statement, Cook said “(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 partner”.

Mansour was appointed as leader of the terrorist organisation in July 2015 after revelations surfaced that the group founder Mullah Omar had been dead for over two years.

Mr. Cook said officials were still in the process of assessing results and more information would be provided when it comes to hand.


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