US President Barack Obama called on the Taliban to join the Afghan government “in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” as he confirmed the death of leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansur in a drone strike on Saturday.
“Today marks an important milestone in our longstanding effort to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan,” said Mr Obama. “Mansur rejected efforts by the Afghan government to seriously engage in peace talks and end the violence that has taken the lives of countless innocent Afghan men, women and children.
“The Taliban should seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict - joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” he added.
The strike, which took place inside Pakistan-controlled Balochistan, “sent a clear message to all those who target our people and our partners,” said the US president. “You will have no safe haven.”
Reportedly haven taken place without Pakistani approval, the attack drew the ire of Pakistani authorities, with the Pakistani Foreign Ministry summoning US Ambassador David Hale and labelling it a “violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty”.