Tuesday 27 September 2016

Taliban leader Mullah Mansour 'likely killed' in US drone strike

Published 21/05/2016 | 22:36

A local Afghan newspaper with photos of the leader of the country's Taliban, Mullah Mansour, dated December 2015 (AP)
A local Afghan newspaper with photos of the leader of the country's Taliban, Mullah Mansour, dated December 2015 (AP)
Barack Obama authorised the strike

The US has conducted an air strike targeting Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, the Pentagon said.

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One American official said the US believes Mansour was killed in what was a drone strike authorised by President Barack Obama.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the attack occurred in a remote region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He said the US was studying the results of the attack, leaving Mansour's fate unclear.

But a US said Mansour and a second male combatant accompanying him in a vehicle were likely killed.

The official said the attack was carried out by unmanned aircraft operated by US special operations forces.

The official said the operation occurred southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal.

The attack was authorised by US president Barack Obama, Mr Cook said.

Mansour was chosen to take the helm of the Afghan Taliban last summer after the death several years earlier of the organisation's founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, became public.

Mansour, Mullah Omar's long-time deputy, had actually been the Taliban's de facto leader for years, according to the Afghan government.

His formal ascension was divisive in the Taliban, handing him the challenge of uniting a fractured - but still lethal - insurgency that has seen fighters desert for more extreme groups such as Islamic State.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan according to a harsh interpretation of Islamic law until the group was toppled by a US-led invasion following the September 11 2001 attacks.

Press Association

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