The killing of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour in a U.S. drone strike was greeted Sunday by Kabul's political leadership as a game-changer in efforts to end the long insurgent war plaguing Afghanistan. In a rare show of unity, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah both welcomed the news of Mansour's death as the removal of a man who unleashed violence against innocent civilians in Afghanistan and was widely regarded as an obstacle to peace within the militant group. In September 2015, Taliban fighters surprised Afghan security forces and overran the northern city of Kunduz -- the first time since their regime was overthrown in the 2001 U.S. invasion that they had captured a provincial capital. Mansour's death inside Pakistan could further damage the already deeply suspicious relationship between Kabul and Islamabad.
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed, Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security confirmed Sunday afternoon after several hours of uncertainty. The Afghan intelligence agency said Mansour, who was officially named the group's leader last year, was killed in an "airstrike" in a remote area in Balochistan in southwestern Pakistan Saturday. Prior to that, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also confirmed that Mansour had been targeted in a drone strike by the United States. "Mullah Akhtar Mansour refused to answer repeated calls by the people and Government of Afghanistan to end the war and violence in the country. While sheltering himself in hideouts outside Afghanistan, he was also involved in deception, concealment of facts, maiming and killing innocent Afghans, terrorism, intimidation, drug smuggling as well as obstruction of development and progress in Afghanistan as he obstinately insisted on continuing the war," the Afghan president's office said in a statement Sunday.