Obama: Killing Was a Message to Taliban

He confirms that US strike killed leader
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2016 4:29 AM CDT
Updated May 23, 2016 6:13 AM CDT
Obama: Killing Was a Message to Taliban
President Obama delivers a speech during a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Monday.   (Luong Thai Linh, Pool Photo via AP)

Mullah Mansour was killed in an American drone strike over the weekend and he had it coming, President Obama said Monday. In the first official US confirmation of the Taliban leader's death, Obama called the killing in Pakistan an "important milestone" that has "removed the leader of an organization that has continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and coalition forces," the New York Times reports. Obama, who is visiting Vietnam, explained that the US is not "re-entering the day-to-day combat operations that are currently being conducted by Afghan security forces."

But Mansour had rejected peace talks and continued to plan attacks on US troops, and it is "my responsibility as commander in chief not to stand by, but to make sure that we send a clear signal to the Taliban and others that we're going to protect our people," Obama said, per the AP. "And that's exactly the message that has been sent." A senior Taliban member had already confirmed the death of Mansour, who became the group's official leader after the death of Mullah Omar was announced last year. Reuters reports that a Taliban leadership council has already begun meeting to choose a successor. Sources say that the group fears it could split into many feuding factions. To promote unity, a relative of Mullah Omar may be chosen as the next leader. (More Taliban stories.)

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