PAKISTAN: The Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor has likely been killed in American drone strike in Pakistan, it has been reported.
The airstrike was carried out along the Durand Line in a remote area of Pakistan, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal.
Mansoor was reportedly travelling a vehicle which was targeted by multiple drones, a senior US defense official has said.
The US Department of Defense confirmed Saturday “Today, the Department of Defense conducted an airstrike that targeted Taliban leader Mullah Mansur in a remote area of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Mansur 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.”
“Mansur has been an obstacle to peace and reconciliation between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, prohibiting Taliban leaders from participating in peace talks with the Afghan government that could lead to an end to the conflict,” a statement by DoD said.
The statement further added “Since the death of Mullah Omar and Mansur’s assumption of leadership, the Taliban have conducted many attacks that have resulted in the death of tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and Afghan security forces as well as numerous U.S. and coalition personnel. We are still assessing the results of the strike and will provide more information as it becomes available.”
The former Afghan intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil has also written regarding the airstrike targeting Mansoor in his Twitter account.
“Akhtar Mansoor joined Mullah Omar, he was living in Gardi Jangal area of Quetta, Pakistan. Seems it was a good airstrike by US,” the Twitter post by Nabil said.
If confirmed, the death would be a serious blow to the organization. Mansoor became its leader last July, when it was revealed that reclusive long-time head, Mullah Omar, had died two years prior. Mansoor had been his deputy.
The appointment of Mullah Mansoor as the new Supreme Leader of Taliban led to widening rift among the Taliban ranks which resulted into deadly clashes on numerous occassions among his supporters and the dissident Taliban leaders.
Mansoor was however supported by the notorious Haqqani terrorist network which is also believed to be based in Pakistan as the network’s leader was appointed as the deputy chief of the Taliban group. -KP
THE PASHTUN TIMES