Afghan intelligence confirms Taliban leader’s death

Kabul, May 22 (IANS) Contradicting a Pakistan media report, the Afghanistan intelligence agency on Sunday confirmed that Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour has been killed in US drone strike in Balochistan.

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Mansour was killed on Saturday in a US drone strike in Ahmad Wal town of Balochistan province in Pakistan, Afghanistan’s Tolo news reported.

Pakistan’s Urdu TV channel Samaa in its report had claimed that those killed in the US drone strike were a taxi driver and a passenger, and not Afghan Taliban top leader Mullah Mansour.

Corroborating the intelligence agency report, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday said that Mansour was killed in the US drone strike near Quetta, the Balochistan capital city.

Abdullah’s statement came after the Afghan intelligence agency statement that the Taliban supreme leader was dead, Khamaa Press reported.

The Pentagon in a statement earlier had said Mansour and another Taliban member had been likely killed in US drone attack.

The US had targeted a vehicle Mansour was travelling in, the statement said.

However, according to Al-Jazeera, Taliban militants who had kept the death of their former leader Mullah Omar secret for more than two years, denied the reports of Mansour’s death.

Pakistani officials also denied a strike had happened on their side of the border, Al-Jazeera reported.

“However, the officials are not ruling out if the attack took place on the Afghan side of the border,” it said.

“The Taliban sources we have spoken to are denying that their leader has been killed in the attack,” the usually reliable channel said.

Pakistan’s Urdu TV channel Samaa in its report said the US drone strike had killed a taxi driver and a passenger, and not Afghan Taliban top leader Mullah Mansour.

Their bodies were brought to a hospital in Nushki, a district close to Ahmad Wal, Samaa said.

According to the identity cards collected from the bodies, the driver’s name was Muhammad Azam and the passenger’s name Wali Muhammad, a resident of Chaman, a town on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Mansour took control of the group in July last year after the announcement of the death of Taliban’s former leader Mullah Omar two years earlier.



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