The Taliban of Afghanistan seem to have a huge problem, their spiritual leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was recently killed in an American airstrike on Taliban-held territory in nearby Pakistan. To combat the issue of having a leaderless Taliban, the elders of multiple tribes affiliated with the Taliban have recently met to have a leadership conference, with the end goal of electing a new leader, and further strengthening the shaky bonds that hold together much of these tribes. Mullah Akhtar Mansour was an inexperienced leader, who only recently took control as head of the Taliban. From evidence recovered at the site of the drone strike, it appears that Mullah Mansour was a hard worker who was always on the road, his body was recovered alongside a Pakistani Passport which was issued under an assumed name, and in that passport was a valid visa to Iran, which is one of the Taliban’s main allies.
Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s death also opens a lot of questions. For starters, who was helping him obtain the papers? The Pakistani government had to know what was going on. So did the Iranian Government. It also appears that the Pakistani’s realize that they have been caught red-handed. Instead of angrily protesting this American intrusion onto their sovereignty, they have merely issued a statement, which can only be described as muted. It is like they did so only because they had to, and they couldn’t come up with a good excuse as why Mullah Mansour was working from Pakistani Territory, and how he managed to obtain Pakistani travel documents. In short, his death also sends a strong message to anyone thinking of filling the shoes which he left empty. Basically, it says that we don’t care if you try to run, but eventually, we will either capture or kill you regardless of where you are in the world. Let us hope that after this, the Taliban gets the message, and decided to rejoin the ongoing peace talks that are being held with the Afghan government.
To conclude, the killing of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor may be the strong dose of medicine that the Afghan Taliban needs, and may be the final push for them to choose to rejoin the peace talks.