WASHINGTON: United States President Barack Obama confirmed reports of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour being killed in a drone attack on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, according to an international news agency.
“Death of Mullah Mansour is a milestone for peace in Afghanistan. We have finished off leader of a group which would attack the US and its allies,” the American President was quoted as saying.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not confirmed reports yesterday that Mansour had been killed in the drone attack. The drone strike has tensed relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan yet again, since Islamabad has referred to the episode as an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also disclosed yesterday in London that the drone strike was carried out during the day and he was informed of it by night. PM Sharif also revealed that him and army chief General Raheel Sharif had talked about the drone strike after they were informed of it by Kerry’s phone call.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry disclosed that a passport found at the site, bearing a different name, carried a valid Iranian visa. It added that the purported passport holder was believed to have returned to Pakistan from Iran on Saturday, the day of the drone strike targeting Mansour.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had claimed that he had informed Pakistan’s leadership of the drone strike. Mansour’s killing will most likely trigger a succession battle among the Taliban, as various groups within the banned outfit will want to fill Mansour’s shoes.
Mullah Mansour rose to command the Taliban after former Taliban chief Mullah omar was revealed to be dead, in 2015.