Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was targeted and likely killed on Saturday in a US drone strike at around 6 a.m. ET Saturday morning in a remote area of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal. The airstrike, carried out by multiple drones operated by U.S. Special Operations Forces, was authorized by President Barack Obama. It also killed a second adult male combatant in the vehicle, but no civilians were killed.
U.S. officials are still assessing the results, a US official said to CNN. A second source, a senior administration official, said it would likely take days to get “physical confirmation” because of the remote location.
“Mansour was the target and was likely killed,” the official said, speaking under the condition of anonymity.
The Pentagon confirmed the strike in a statement but didn’t say whether Mansour was killed.
“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,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in the statement. “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.”
Mansour assumed the leadership in July 2015, replacing Taliban founder and spiritual head Mullah Mohammad Omar.