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Taliban leader 'likely killed' in US air strikes

Taliban leader 'likely killed' in US air strikes

Afghanistan

The Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Mansour has been probably killed in a US drone strikes on Saturday, according to US officials.

The Pentagon said they were still assessing the results of the strike.

The strike, authorised by President Obama, was carried out by multiple drones in a ‘remote area of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region’, meaning it could take days to get official confirmation.

The strike targeted Mansour and another male combatant as they rode in a vehicle in a remote area of Pakistan close to the Afghan border, officials said.

Afghanistan’s intelligence agency however says Mullah Mansour was killed in the US air strike.

Mansour took over leadership of the Taliban in 2015 replacing its spiritual head Mullah Mohammad Omar.

If confirmed, Mansour’s death could have significant implications on stalled peace talks.

The Pentagon branded him as an ‘obstacle to peace’ saying he had forbidden Taliban leaders from taking part in talks with the Afghan government.

It added that he was actively involved in planning attacks that threatened US, Afghan and allied forces.

An unnamed Taliban commander however told Reuters news agency: “We heard about these baseless reports but this is not the first time. Just wanted to share with you my own information that Mullah Mansour has not been killed.”

Mullah Mansour since taking over, led the Taliban to capture an important city last year – the first time in 15 years.

Mansour also managed to silence the splinter Taliban group under Mullah Muhammad Rasool, which challenged his leadership, and is credited by his followers for containing the Islamic State in Taliban areas.

Reuters