Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour killed in Pakistan drone strike

He was appointed leader of the Taliban in July 2015

Mullah Akhtar Mansour, killed, Taliban, Pakistan, drone strike, US, Barack Obama

In this file photo, an Afghan newspaper headlines pictures of the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor (left) and former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, in Kabul, Afghanistan | Image: Rahmat Gul / AP/Press Association Images

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been killed in a drone strike, the group has confirmed.

The strike, which was authorised by US President Barack Obama, is also thought to have killed another combatant, a US official added.

Multiple US drones targeted the men as they rode in a vehicle in a remote area in Pakistan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, southwest of the town of Ahmad Wal, the official said.

The strike took place at around 6.00am EDT (11.00am Irish time), which would have placed it around 3.00pm on Saturday in Pakistan.

A US State Department official said both Pakistan and Afghanistan were told about the strike, but did not disclose whether they were notified prior to it being carried out.

Mansour's death was later confirmed by a senior Taliban commander.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement that Mansour "has been the leader of the Taliban and actively involved with planning attacks against facilities in Kabul and across Afghanistan, presenting a threat to Afghan civilians and security forces, our personnel, and Coalition partners".

Mansour was appointed leader of the Taliban in July 2015 following the revelation that the group's founder, Mullah Omar, had been dead for two years.

"Since the death of Mullah Omar and Mansour's assumption of leadership, the Taliban have conducted many attacks that have resulted in the death of tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and Afghan security forces as well as numerous US and Coalition personnel," Mr Cook said.

He added that officials were still assessing the results of the drone strike and would provide more information when available.

Mansour's death could have implications for stalled peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Mr Cook said Mansour had prohibited Taliban leaders from taking part in peace talks with the Afghan government.

Mansour's death could also have repercussions within the militant group, where rival factions rejected his leadership after he publicly assumed the title of his predecessor last year.