WASHINGTON (AP) – A senior commander with the Afghan Taliban says the militant group’s leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed in a U.S. drone strike.
Mullah Abdul Rauf told The Associated Press Sunday that Mansour died in the strike late Friday night.
He says the strike took place “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.”
The office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed the strike but could not confirm Mansour’s death.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, however, says that Mansour is “more than likely” dead and that his passing could help efforts to bring the Taliban into peace talks.
Mansour formally led the Taliban after the death of the movement’s founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was announced last summer.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is praising the successful strike.
Mansour, Mullah Omar’s deputy, concealed Mullah Omar’s death for more than two years, and ran the Taliban in his name until the death was revealed by the Afghan government.