Tue | Jul 17, 2018

The Latest: Senior US commander says Taliban faces 'dilemma'

Published:Sunday | May 22, 2016 | 10:58 AM
This photo taken by a freelance photographer Abdul Salam Khan using his smart phone on Sunday purports to show the destroyed vehicle in which Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour was traveling in the Ahmad Wal area in Baluchistan province of Pakistan, near Afghanistan's border.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Latest on the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

The top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East says the killing of the Taliban's supreme leader presents a difficult dilemma for the militants in Afghanistan.

Gen. Joseph Votel told reporters while visiting Jordan on Sunday that he is pleased that Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in an American drone strike.

He said it puts the Taliban on "the horns of a dilemma" as they seek to establish new leadership to replace Mansour.

Votel was in Jordan to observe a U.S.-Jordanian military exercise, following a surprise visit to Syria on Saturday.


1:45 p.m.

Afghan authorities have confirmed that the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike.

The National Directorate of Security, as the secret service is known, said in a statement that he was killed at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday. The statement, sent to The Associated Press on Sunday, says the attack took place in Baluchistan province, in southwestern Pakistan.

"The attack happened on the main road while he was in his vehicle," it says.

It referred to "others" in the vehicle without further detail.

Earlier a senior Taliban commander told the AP that Mansour had been killed in the Noshki district, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.


12:30 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is praising the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike.

U.S. officials have confirmed that Mansour was targeted, but have not yet confirmed whether Mansour was killed.

However Kerry, speaking during a visit to Myanmar, repeatedly referred to Mansour in the past tense.

"Mansour posed a continuing imminent threat to U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, Afghan civilians, Afghan security forces and members of Resolute Support," Kerry said. "Peace is what we want. Mansour was a threat to that effort."

Kerry called for a post-Mansour Taliban to engage in serious peace negotiations with the Kabul government, saying, "It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together."


10:30 a.m.

A senior commander with the Afghan Taliban says the militant group's leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Mullah Abdul Rauf told The Associated Press Sunday that Mansour died in the strike late Friday night.

He says the strike took place "in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area."

The office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed the strike but could not confirm Mansour's death.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, however, says that Mansour is "more than likely" dead.

Mansour formally led the Taliban after the death of the movement's founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was announced last summer.

Mansour, Mullah Omar's deputy, concealed Mullah Omar's death for more than two years, and ran the Taliban in his name until the death was revealed by the Afghan government.