Afghanistan probes Taliban leader's fate after US drone attack

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office confirms the strike, adding that they are investigating whether Mansour had in fact been killed

Afghanistan probes Taliban leader's fate after US drone attack

World Bulletin / News Desk

Afghan authorities scrambled Sunday to confirm the fate of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour after US officials said he was likely killed in drone strikes -- a potential blow to the resurgent militant movement.

The Taliban have so far not commented on the very rare US attack deep inside Pakistan on Saturday, authorised by President Barack Obama.

The apparent elimination of Mansour, who had swiftly consolidated power following a bitter Taliban leadership struggle over the past year, could spark new succession battles within the fractious movement.

The attack took place in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan bordering Afghanistan.

"Mansour was the target and was likely killed" in the remote town of Ahmad Wal by multiple unmanned aircraft operated by US special operations forces, an American official said Saturday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office on Sunday confirmed the strike, adding that they were investigating whether Mansour had in fact been killed.

The deaths of Taliban leaders have often been falsely reported, and Mansour himself was rumoured to have been killed last December.

"The Afghan government is trying to gather details regarding the fate of Mullah Mansour," the presidential palace said in a statement.

"This drone strike shows that terrorists fuelling conflict will not be safe anywhere."

Two Pakistani intelligence officials told AFP the drones struck a Toyota Corolla near the city of Quetta, killing two people whose bodies were burned beyond recognition.

They did not confirm whether Mansour was among them but said the bodies had been moved to a hospital in Quetta.

Mansour was formally appointed head of the Taliban in July last year following the revelation that the group's founder Mullah Omar had been dead for two years.

Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2016, 11:20
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