Taliban Leader's Death Is Another Step Towards Peace, White House Says

Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the leader of the Afghan Taliban was killed in an air strike.

President Obama and the White House are calling Mullah Akhtar Muhammod Mansour's death "an important milestone" in the quest for peace in the Middle East.

Mansour, who was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan on Saturday, was a big part of blocking peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, according to a White House Statement. 

"He is an individual who as head of the Taliban was specifically targeting U.S. personnel and troops inside of Afghanistan who are there as part of the mission I have set to maintain a counterterrorism platform and provide assistance," Mr. Obama said in a press conference.

Here is the White House statement:

Mansour rejected efforts by the Afghan government to seriously engage in peace talks and end the violence that has taken the lives of countless innocent Afghan men, women and children. The Taliban should seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict - joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability.

While Monsour's death throws the Taliban into disarray, creating a vacuum of power, not everyone is celebrating. Pakistani authorities said the strike is a violation of their sovereignty, and noted that the United States didn't make them aware of the strike until after it happened.

Despite that, the two nations still insist their militaries are cooperating. 

The news comes just a week after we reported that ISIS is also in an upheaval, having lost territory throughout Iraq and Syria. 

Cover photo: Mark Wilson / Getty