24 May 2016
The killing of the Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US drone strike is a major setback for the insurgent movement. His death comes barely a year after the disclosure of the death of the Taliban’s founding leader Mullah Omar.
Mansour was reportedly targeted by US drones in Ahmedwal town, 20 kilometres from Balochistan’s Noshki district. The US considered the new Taliban chief a major hurdle to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. However, it is yet to be seen if his killing will have a significant impact on the Taliban’s ongoing spring offensive in Afghanistan, and whether it will improve the prospects of peace talks or undermine them further.
In July 2015 when Mansour assumed the leadership of the Afghan Taliban, finding a political solution to the Afghan conflict looked achievable. Given his pragmatic approach, politically accommodating nature and closeness with Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, the stakeholders of the Afghan conflict looked towards his appointment favourably, in hopes of reaching a political compromise. However, the developments that transpired following his appointment were concerning.
… The writer is an associate research fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 25/05/2016