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Taliban leader targeted in US drone strikes

Afghanistan's spy agency claimed that the leader of the Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed in a US drone strike in Baluchistan on Saturday.

The strike, which took place in Pakistani territory near the Afghanistan border, was carried out without the permission of the Pakistani authorities who were only told about the strike after it had taken place, reported an anonymous source to the New York Times.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry denounced the strike in the statement, calling it a violation of sovereignty.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Taliban leader had posed "a continuing, imminent threat to US personnel" since he took control of the organisation’s leadership last year. “We have long said that Mansour posed an imminent threat to us and to Afghan civilians,” he said. “This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to work with our Afghan partners.”

The strike signals a shift in policy from the US, after months of reported attempts to peace talks between the two sides.

It is also the first US strike in Balochistan, an area that Pakistan has refused to allow the US to attack in recent years.