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Afghanistan president says U.S. drone killed Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah, wanted over 2012 Malala Yousafzai shooting attack

The Japan Times

KABUL – President Ashraf Ghani confirmed Friday that Pakistani Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah has been killed in a U.S. drone strike. Fazlullah is believed to have ordered the failed 2012 assassination of Malala Yousafzai, who became a global symbol of the fight for girls' rights to schooling, and who later won the Nobel Peace Prize. U.S. forces targeted Fazlullah in a counterterrorism strike Thursday in eastern Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. officials said, without confirming his death. "I spoke with Prime Minister of #Pakistan Nasir ul Mulk and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and confirmed the death of Mullah Fazlullah," Ghani tweeted, adding: "His death is the result of tireless human intel led by #Afghan security agencies." Ghani added the Pakistani leaders had assured him the strike was "a great step toward building trust between the two nations," while urging them to "bring (the) Afghan Taliban residing in Pakistan to the negotiation table."

Pakistan Taliban leader killed in US drone strike, Afghan officials say

FOX News

Pakistan Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan, the Afghan Defense Ministry announced Friday. The U.S. military said Thursday it had carried out an airstrike targeting a senior militant in northeastern Kunar, according to Reuters. A U.S. official told the news agency the target was believed to be Fazlullah. Four other senior Taliban militants were also killed in the strike, The New York Times reported. Fazlullah is considered one of the most-wanted Pakistan militants and is believed to be behind the attacks on Pakistani security officials and civilians.

Afghanistan Drone Strike Kills 20 Pakistani Taliban, Officials Say

U.S. News

Afghanistan and Pakistan accuse each other of allowing militant groups to shelter in remote frontier regions to prepare cross-border attacks. U.S. officials have also accused Pakistan of not doing enough to crack down on such groups operating on its side of the border.

Drone blowback: High-tech weapons come home to roost

New Scientist

SHORTLY after 9/11, the US deployed a new form of high-tech warfare: sending drones into foreign airspace to kill terror suspects. At first the strikes were restricted to Afghanistan, but soon they were extended into Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The strategy has been escalated by presidents Obama and Trump. Initially the US had a virtual monopoly on drone technology, but commentators pointed out that this would only be temporary. Legal scholars also warned that the strikes were of dubious international legality.

With killing of top mullah, what's next for the Taliban in Afghanistan?

PBS NewsHour

HARI SREENIVASAN: The man who led the Afghan Taliban for the past year was killed in a U.S. operation over the weekend. The group had been gaining ground and waging a bloody war against the Afghan government. So, what's next for the Taliban, and the countries who fight it? Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner begins our coverage. MARGARET WARNER: Smoldering wreckage on a Pakistani roadside was all that remained of the Taliban commander's vehicle hours after he died in it Saturday.

Taliban sources confirm leader's death in drone strike as Pakistan slams U.S. incursion

The Japan Times

Balochistan, PAKISTAN/KABUL/WASHINGTON – Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan, senior militant sources told AFP Sunday, adding that an insurgent assembly was underway to decide on his successor. Saturday's bombing raid, the first known U.S. assault on a top Afghan Taliban leader on Pakistani soil, marks a major blow to the militant movement, which saw a new resurgence under Mansour. The elimination of Mansour, who rose to the rank of leader nine months earlier after a bitter internal leadership struggle, could also scupper any immediate prospect of peace talks. "I can say with good authority that Mullah Mansour is no more," a senior Taliban source told AFP. Mansour's death, which risks igniting new succession battles within the fractious group, was confirmed by two other senior figures who said its top leaders were gathering in Quetta to name their future chief.