U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Mullah Akhtar Mansour posed a ''continuing imminent threat'' to U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, after the Taliban leader was thought to have been killed in an air strike. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday (May 22) Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour posed a "continuing imminent threat" to U.S. personnel in Afghanistan and to Afghans, and was a threat to peace. U.S. officials in Washington said on Saturday U.S. missile-firing drones had attacked Mansour and probably killed him in a strike in southwest Pakistan, near the Afghan border, authorized by U.S. President Barack Obama. Kerry said the leaders of both Pakistan and Afghanistan were notified of the air strike but he declined to elaborate on the timing of the notifications, which he said included a telephone call from him to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Kerry did not confirm whether the strike had killed Mansour. A Pentagon spokesman said earlier the results of the strike were being assessed. The Taliban have made no official statement but two commanders close to Mansour denied he was dead. Kerry made the comments during a brief visit to Myanmar where he lauded the Southeast Asian nation's transition to democracy but pressed its new civilian leaders for further reforms.