The Afghan government and a senior Taliban commander have claimed that the United States’ drone strikes killed the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour.
Mansour’s companion Mullah Abdul Rauf, who protested against the former’s leadership, told The Associated Press that the Taliban leader died in a drone strike undertaken by the US on Friday nearby the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. The announcement regarding the death of the leader of the extremist group was made on Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, Pakistan also accused the US of attacking the sovereignty of the nation by launching drone attacks against Taliban’s leader.
According to The New York Times, the claims are inconsistent as a Pakistani passport of a different name was found at the spot. Wali Muhammad was the name printed on the passport. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that the man was believed to have travelled to from Iran to Pakistan the same day the US attacked the Taliban area. However, according to the report, an Afghan intelligence agency released a statement confirming the identity later on. “Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the leader of the Taliban group, was killed around 3:45 p.m. yesterday as a result of an airstrike in Dalbandin area of Baluchistan Province in Pakistan,” said the National Directorate of Security.
Prior to the confirmation of the death of the Taliban leader, US State Secretary John Kerry, in his speech on Sunday referred to the former in the past tense. News.com.au stated Kerry referring to the air strike on Mansour as “a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners.” “Peace is what we want, Mansur was a threat to that effort,” Kerry said. “He also was directly opposed to peace negotiations and to the reconciliation process. It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together.”
The latest US drone strike has fuelled the fire between Afghanistan and the United States following their already existing bitter bond that they had been sharing after the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, which was confirmed in 2015.