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Taliban supremo killed in US drone attack in Pak

“Mansour was being closely monitored for a while... until he was targeted along with other fighters aboard a vehicle...in Balochistan,” the National Directorate of Security said in a brief statement on Sunday. Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and defence ministry spokesman Daulat Waziri also said that Mansour had been killed.

Addressing a press conference in the Afghan capital, he called on the group to select a new leader and then come to Kabul and act like a political party. Speaking to reporters in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Mansour posed... an imminent threat to US personnel, Afghan civilians and Afghan security forces.” 

Kerry said Mansour was also directly opposed to peace negotiations.  The US “has long maintained that an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process is the surest way to ensure peace... peace is what we want, Mansour was a threat to that,” Kerry said.

“If people want to stand in the way of peace and continue to threaten, and kill and blow people up, we have no recourse but to respond and I think we responded appropriately,” he said.

The Pentagon earlier confirmed it targeted Mansour. “Mansour 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,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

“Mansour 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,” he said.

The drone strike inside Pakistan was a rare one since US Navy Seals killed Al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in a stealth raid in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad in 2011.

Mansour assumed the leadership in July 2015, replacing Taliban founder and the one-eyed reclusive long-time spiritual head Mullah Mohammad Omar, who died in Pakistan in 2013. “Since the death of Mullah Omar and Mansour’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 US and Coalition personnel,” said Cook.

The US informed both Pakistan and Afghanistan shortly after the strike, a senior White House official said.Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah said that if Mansour’s death is confirmed, major changes within the Taliban ranks could happen and many Taliban leaders could join the peace process. 
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