“How could you fire something out of the sky and blow something up and kill people and not know what country it’s in? ,” a reporter responded incredulously to a State Department spokesman’s claim that the government didn’t know whether the US killed Taliban emir Mullah Mansour in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Pakistan has officially protested some US drone strikes in the past, typically when a so-called “good Taliban” leader is targeted. However Pakistan has occasional protested strikes that have targeted al Qaeda and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
The White House confirmed the death of Taliban emir Mullah Mansour today, two days after the group’s top leader was targeted in an unmanned airstrike in Baluchistan province.
The National Directorate of Security claimed that Taliban Mullah Mansour died in yesterday’s airstrike but the US has yet to confirm his death.
Mullah Mansour was targeted in an airstrike in Baluchistan province. If Mansour is confirmed killed, one of his likely successors is Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network who is closely tied to al Qaeda.
There are now eight Islamic State branches throughout the world designated by the US as terrorist entities – Khorasan, or Afghanistan and Pakistan; the Caucasus; the Egyptian Sinai; Algeria; and Nigeria.
Muqtada al Sadr, the radical Shia cleric who battled US forces during the Iraqi occupation, is preparing his militia to participate in an offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State. The US military has insisted that Iranian-backed militias will not fight in Mosul.
Afghan forces have been stretched thin attempting to fight the Taliban on multiple fronts. Forces are often shifted from one theater to another to take back ground from the Taliban, but once the military pulls back, the areas fall back under Taliban control.