U.S. officials have claimed that the airstrike was authorised by the country’s President Barack Obama and were carried out on May 21 in southwest Pakistan, near the Afghan border.
Officials said that U.S. missile-firing drones had attacked Mansour and probably killed him.
Revealing information about the airstrike at a press conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Yesterday, the United States conducted a precision air strike that targeted Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in a remote area of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mansour posed a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. personnel and Afghans. This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners as they work to build a more stable, united, secure and prosperous Afghanistan. Peace is what we want. Mansour was a threat to that effort and to bringing an end to the violence and suffering people of Afghanistan have endured for so many years now. He was also directly opposed to the peace negotiation and to the reconciliation process.”
Reports quoted Kerry as saying that Pakistani and Afghani leaders had been notified of the airstrike.
Even though Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani confirmed the airstrike in an official statement, confirmation of Mansour’s death has not been made.
Issuing a televised statement, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has however claimed that Mansour is “more than likely” dead.
Abdullah stated in his message that, “Mansour’s death would have a positive impact on attempts to bring peace to Afghanistan. Mansour was the main figure preventing the Taliban joining the peace process. From the day he took over the Taliban following the death of Mullah Omar, he intensified violence against ordinary citizens, especially in Afghanistan.”
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook meanwhile said in an official statement, “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. 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.”
A year back, Taliban is said to have revealed that Mansour, who previously led the Quetta Shura, a council of the Taliban and Islamic scholars – had assumed command after longtime leader Mullah Mohammed Omar died in Pakistan in 2013.