Saturday morning, U.S. Special Operation forces supposedly killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. Two U.S. officials said that the strike took place in Pakistan, however, Mansour’s death has not yet been confirmed.

U.S: government authorized and conducted a strike targeting Taliban leader, Mullah Mansour. The Pentagon presented some details about the airstrike with no “physical confirmation” about Mansour’s death. Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, affirmed the air attack occurred in a remote area of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, in the southwest region of Ahmad Wal.

Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, Taliban militants’ leader, is seen in this undated handout photograph by the Taliban. REUTERS/Taliban Handout/Handout via Reuters

The strike took place in a very remote area of Pakistan, which is way authorities have not supported information about Taliban leader’s death.

Two U.S. officials said on Saturday that the military drone strike targeted Mansour’s and a male companion who were killed during the operation. Both, Taliban leader and his combatant companion were traveling by vehicle in an area of Ahmad Wal.   

U.S. President, Barack Obama, authorized the attack. The operation was carried out by unmanned aircraft and might have started late on Friday night. Nevertheless, according to the two U.S. official, the target was struck on Saturday morning at about 6 a.m.

In a statement, The Pentagon confirmed that the operation took place, but it has not yet been possible to evaluate the results of it, including, the main objective of the strike.

According to Cook, the strike was authorized because of the danger Mansour represented for Afghan civilians and security forces. Moreover, Mansur, as the leader of the Afghan Taliban, was against any sort of peace reconciliation with Afghanistan government. 

Pentagon press secretary also said that Mansur was a threat as for Afghan citizens as for coalition forces because of multiple attacks he had planned and commanded in Kabul and all across Afghanistan territory.

Mansour was the Taliban leader since 2013

Last summer, the Islamic-Taliban movement made public the leadership of Mansour within the insurgent forces since 2013, after former leader’s death. Mullah Mohammed Omar was the founder of the organization and he had commanded the Taliban movement for a long time. When his death was official, Mansour has become its successor.

Mansour had previously started his leadership within the Taliban forces when he headed the Quetta Shura, the council of the Taliban and Islamic scholars. Also, Mansour was formerly the Taliban’s minister of civil aviation and transportation of the Islamic organization.

All previous leaderships in the Taliban made him the best candidate when the organization ran out of its supreme commander and spiritual leader. By 2015, Mansour was officially elected as the head of the Taliban, however, before that date, there were previous records about attacks and deaths that might have been planned and perpetrated by Mansour.

Source: Defense Department