Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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U.S. drone strike targets Afghan Taliban leader

U.S. drone strikes may have killed the leader of the Afghan Taliban Saturday just inside Pakistan, but the Taliban deny it.

From Reuters via the Globe and Mail (“Afghan Taliban leader likely killed in U.S. drone strike, U.S. official says“):

The death of Mullah Akhtar Mansour, should it be confirmed, could further fracture the Taliban – an outcome that experts cautioned might make the insurgents even less likely to participate in long-stalled peace efforts.

The mission, which included multiple drones, demonstrated a clear willingness by Obama to go after the Afghan Taliban leadership in Pakistan now that the insurgents control or contest more territory in Afghanistan than at any time since being ousted by a U.S.-led intervention in 2001.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook confirmed an air strike targeting Mansour in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region but declined to speculate on his fate, although multiple U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters he likely was killed.

“We are still assessing the results of the strike and will provide more information as it becomes available,” Cook said.

A Taliban commander close to Mansour, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, denied Mansour was dead.

Reports of Mansour’s death have previously been shown to be premature. Reuters said Mansour was considered possibly killed during a shootout at a Taliban house in Quetta, Pakistan.

Addendum

The BBC reported Sunday (“Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour killed, Afghans confirm“) that Afghanistan’s spy agency confirmed Mansour had been killed by the strike:

The Afghan National Security Directorate (NDS) said on Sunday that Mansour had been killed in the Dalbandi area of Balochistan province – the first official confirmation of the killing of the Taliban leader.

Sat, May 21 2016 » * Big Picture Stuff, Main Page