Kabul, 15 Sya’ban 1437/23 May 2016 (MINA) – The leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in a US drone strike on Saturday, Afghan officials confirmed.
The Afghan spy agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and the presidential palace confirmed the death of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor Sunday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed the strike, noting the decision was made by President Barack Obam and that the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan had been notified of the airstrike, DPA was quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“If people want to stand in the way of peace, continue to threaten and kill and blow people up, we have no recourse but to respond, and I think we responded appropriately,” Kerry said during a press conference in Myanmar.
A statement released by the Afghan spy agency said that Mullah Mansoor was killed in a drone strike in Dalbandin of Baluchistan while Abdullah confirmed the death on Twitter.
The Taliban had earlier denied that Mansoor had been killed after the US military said it conducted an airstrike targeting Mansoor in a remote area near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Saturday.
Abdullah said that Mansoor “was a big obstacle for peace,” adding that with him gone, Taliban groups may take the opportunity to join the peace process.
Meanwhile a source within the Afghan presidential palace, who asked to remain anonymous, said that Mansoor had strong ties with the Taliban’s military commission and “his death means a huge crack in Taliban ranks.”
The Afghan Interior Ministry said Mansoor’s death was “a big blow to the Taliban,” and it would improve the country’s security situation.
Mansoor assumed the Taliban leadership in August, after the announcement of the death of movement founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)