US forces will continue to go after threats on Pakistani soil: Obama

US president confirms that Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US air strike

Afp May 23, 2016
Pakistan denounced the US drone strike on Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour as a violation of its air space PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI: President Barack Obama on Monday confirmed Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US air strike, hailing his death as an "important milestone" in efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Saturday's bombing raid, the first known American assault on a top Afghan Taliban leader on Pakistani soil, marks a major blow to the militant movement, which saw a new resurgence under Mansour.

US didn’t notify Pakistan until after deadly strike

"We have removed the leader of an organisation that has continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and Coalition forces, to wage war against the Afghan people, and align itself with extremist groups like Al-Qaeda," the US president said in a statement.

Senior Taliban sources have also confirmed the killing to AFP, adding that a shura (council) is under way to select a new leader.

Obama, who is on a three day visit to Vietnam, said Mansour had rejected efforts "to seriously engage in peace talks and end the violence that has taken the lives of countless innocent Afghan men, women and children."

He called on the Taliban's remaining leadership to engage in peace talks as the "only real path" to ending the attritional conflict.

Mansour was elevated to the leadership of the Taliban in July 2015 following the revelation that the group's founder Mullah Omar had died two years earlier.

Pakistan denounces US strike believed to have killed Afghan Taliban chief: FO

He was killed on Saturday near the town of Ahmad Lal in the south western part of Balochistan, when missiles fired from a drone struck the car he was travelling in.

It was believed to be the first time the United States has targeted a senior Taliban figure in Pakistan.

Pakistan, which says it is hosting the Afghan Taliban's top leadership in order to exert influence over them, has lambasted the United States over the drone attack, calling it a violation of its sovereignty.

In his statement, Obama said American forces would continue to go after threats on Pakistani soil.

"We will work on shared objectives with Pakistan, where terrorists that threaten all our nations must be denied safe haven," he said.

But the strike could signal a fresh blow for US-Pakistan ties, which have improved markedly in recent years since the killing of al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden in 2011.

Who will succeed Mullah Mansoor? 

The US has carried out hundreds of drone strikes in the Pakistan, mainly in the country's border tribal regions with Afghanistan, with leaked documents showing Islamabad had quietly consented, despite publicly protesting.

This time, however, both sides insist Pakistan was informed only after the fact. Leaked diplomatic cables from 2010 had indicated that Islamabad wanted Balochistan to remain off-limits.

The meeting of the Taliban's Supreme Council continued into its second day Monday, according to senior militant sources, though the group has yet to release an official statement.

A senior Taliban source told AFP the killing had sent shockwaves through the leadership and many were laying low in Pakistan while some had fled across the border to Afghanistan.

"The shura meeting is continuing at an undisclosed location, they keep on moving due to the fear of US drone strike," the source told AFP.


Abdul Muheet | 6 years ago | Reply As, the Americans by their self admitting that Mula Mansoor was returning from Iran, I much astonished why the Americans didn't target him inside Iran territory. Americans were familiar from his movement and they effortlessly can target that man in Afghanistan or in Iran, why every time they blackmailing Pakistan and showing dreadful image of Pakistan by targeting these evils inside Pakistan territory. We got tired from listening denunciation from our Government. If Pakistan does not take some solid and strong steps then we will see the next target will be somebody else in Peshawar, then in Islamabad, and this need to be scrutinize and investigate that how Afghan citizen got Pakistani Identity Card. We appeal our Govt to cancel all the CNIC and Passports which have been allotted to these evils(Afghani).
oats | 6 years ago | Reply @Hakim Afghani: The American public is tired of the never ending war in Afghanistan so the hope of many is just to wall off the border that Afghanistan has with Pakistan to contain the people there so they don't come to Pakistan. What I can never understand is why the Afghan refugees prefer to stay in Pakistan instead of going to where their Indian masters live in New Dehli.
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