Recruits killed by suicide bombers
Killing of Taliban chief removes ‘obstacle’
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