HANOI: Visiting US President Barack Obama confirmed on Monday the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a statement issued in Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Monday, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
“Today marks an important milestone in our longstanding effort to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan. With the death of Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, we have removed the leader of an organisation that has continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and Coalition forces, to wage war against the Afghan people, and align itself with extremist groups like al-Qaida,” Obama said in the statement.
The US President said “Mansoor rejected efforts by the Afghan government to seriously engage in peace talks and end the violence” and called on the Taliban to “seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict – joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability.”
Obama also promised to “help strengthen Afghan security forces and support President (Ashraf) Ghani and the National Unity Government in their efforts to forge the peace and progress that Afghans deserve,” to “continue taking action against extremist networks that target the United States.”
The president said the US “will work on shared objectives with Pakistan, where terrorists that threaten all our nations must be denied safe haven.”
Last Saturday, the US Defence Department conducted an airstrike targeting Mansoor in a remote area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, but the Pentagon could not make sure whether Mansoor survived the airstrike.
Mansoor became Taliban leader after the previous leader, Mullah Omar, died from tuberculosis in April 2013.
The pentagon said, in a statement last Saturday, that Mansoor is “actively involved with planning attacks against facilities in Kabul and across Afghanistan.”