TEHRAN: Iran on Monday denied reports that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor entered Pakistan from the Islamic republic before being killed in a US drone strike, state media reported.
Pakistani security officials told AFP on Sunday that the man killed on Saturday in Naushki district of Balochistan, believed at the time to be Mansoor, had just returned from Iran when his vehicle was attacked.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari was quoted by the official IRNA news agency on Monday as denying Mansoor had been in the country before the attack.
“The competent authorities of the Islamic republic deny that this person on this date crossed Iran’s border and into Pakistan,” he said. “Iran welcomes any positive action leading to peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he added, without elaborating.
Pakistani identity documents found on the body of the man now known to be Mansoor named him as Muhammad Wali, and showed he had left for Iran on March 28 and returned the day he was killed.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2016.
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