Re­cruits killed by sui­cide bombers

Killing of Tal­iban chief re­moves ‘ob­sta­cle’

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS -

The top com­man­der in Afghanistan said Tal­iban leader Mul­lah Mo­hammed Akhtar Man­sour was an ob­sta­cle to peace and his death will have a dis­rup­tive ef­fect on the in­sur­gency.

Res­o­lute Sup­port Com­man­der, Gen­eral John W Ni­chol­son, said dur­ing a visit to the north­ern prov­ince of Kun­duz that Man­sour re­jected the chance of­fered by Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani to par­tic­i­pate in the peace process.

“I hope that the Tal­iban lead­er­ship will re­alise it is time to lay down their weapons and join the peace ef­forts, so the peo­ple of Afghanistan can en­joy peace and pros­per­ity in the fu­ture,” the US of­fi­cer said.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama also said Man­sour’s death marks an “im­por­tant mile­stone” in the ef­fort to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Ni­chol­son was in Kun­duz for the sec­ond time since be­com­ing com­man­der of the Res­o­lute Sup­port mis­sion. In late Septem­ber 2015, Man­sour’s Tal­iban fight­ers over­ran the city of Kun­duz and held it for four days be­fore be­ing driven out. The takeover was a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment for Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani’s gov­ern­ment.

Man­sour, be­lieved to be in his 50s, was killed when a US drone fired on his ve­hi­cle in the south­west­ern Pak­istani prov­ince of Baluchis­tan. He had emerged as the suc­ces­sor to Tal­iban founder Mul­lah Mo­ham­mad Omar, whose 2013 death was only re­vealed last sum­mer.

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan In­te­rior Min­istry, told re­porters dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Kabul that Man­sour’s death could crip­ple the Tal­iban. “This will be the year of de­feat for the Tal­iban,” he said.

Two sui­cide bomb­ings killed at least 45 peo­ple in Ye­men’s south­ern city of Aden yes­ter­day. Of­fi­cials said the bomb­ings tar­geted young men seek­ing to join the army. One tar­geted a line out­side an army re­cruit­ment cen­tre, while the other hit a group of re­cruits out­side the home of an army com­man­der. A ISIS af­fil­i­ate claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity.

GONE: Mul­lah Mo­hammed Akhtar

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