>> That he is dead.>> President Barack Obama confirming the death of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor on Monday, saying he hopes it might bring the group back to peace talks. Officials say Obama authorized the drone strike in Pakistan that killed Mansoor over the weekend. But as Reuters Assad Hashim reports from Islamabad, the US only told Pakistan after the strike.
>> The strike took place in an area that is well outside the zone that has previously been secretly approved by the Pakistani government for US drone operations. And so it can very much and very clearly be seen as an intrusion, if not an outright invasion of Pakistani territory, that is on par with the operation that took place in 2011 to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
So what it does show is very clearly that when there is a high value target, that the US is prepared to violate Pakistani sovereignty with or without their permission.>> The next question, can the Taliban unite under a new leader? Inside sources tell Reuters support is already shaping around Mansoor's deputy.
>> Sirajuddin Haqqani now leads the Haqqani network, which is considered by Afghanistan and the United States as being responsible for some of the deadliest and most violent attacks on Afghan soils, and the most large scales and complex ones, as well. The latest of which was a bombing in Kabul last month that killed at least 64 people.
So a Taliban that would be lead by Sirajuddin Haqqani would probably follow very much the same patterns as Mansoor's Taliban, which is to continue an aggressive stance against the Afghan government. And to continue fighting, while at the same time delaying talks to the point where they can then approach negotiations from a position of strength.
>> Obama says Mansoor's death is an important milestone since the militant leader had rejected peace talks. The US now calling on the Taliban to seize the chance to return to return to the negotiating table.