26 May 2016
The elimination of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a US drone attack is a major setback for the insurgent movement but is unlikely to change the overall nature of the conflict in Afghanistan. Mansoor’s killing will trigger a new power struggle within the Taliban but whether prospects for peace will now improve remains an open question.
The killing of the Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a US drone strike is a major setback for the insurgent movement. His death comes barely a year after the disclosure of the Taliban’s founding leader Mullah Umar’s death. Mansoor has been targeted by multiple US drones in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The US considered him 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 Mansoor assumed the leadership of the Afghan Taliban, finding a political solution to the Afghan conflict looked achievable. Given his politically accommodative nature and closeness with Pakistani 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.
… Abdul Basit is an Associate Research Fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 29/05/2016