United States President Barack Obama's administration said Friday that up to 116 civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries where America is not at war. Obama's goal for the release of the numbers is reportedly to create greater transparency about the actions of the U.S. military and CIA in counterterrorism measures against militants plotting attacks against the United States. Even the most conservative estimates by non-governmental organizations that have spent years tallying U.S. strikes in these countries are higher than the ones acknowledged by the administration. Obama also signed an executive order Friday that requires U.S. policies to limit non-combatant casualties and publicizing the number of strikes each year, and combatants and civilians killed.
The Afghan Taliban have named a deputy to former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour as their new leader, a spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday, the group's first official confirmation that Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike. Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of a network blamed for many high-profile bombs attacks in Kabul in recent years, and Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, will serve as deputies, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's main spokesman, said in the statement. The announcement, following a meeting of the Taliban's main shura or leadership council, ends three days of confusion during which the Islamist movement had provided no official reaction to the death of Mansour in a drone strike in Pakistan on Saturday. The Taliban have made big gains since NATO forces ended their main combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014 and now control more of the country than at any time since they were ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001.
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. Pakistani local residents gather around a destroyed vehicle hit by a drone strike in which Afghan Taliban Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was believed to be travelling in the remote town of Ahmad Wal in Balochistan, around 160 km west of Quetta, May 21, 2016. Although the Afghan Taliban is yet to release an official statement about Mansour's death, a senior Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Rauf, told the Associated Press that Mansour had been killed in an airstrike late Friday "in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area."