Mansour was planning attack against US forces: Pentagon
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Mullah Akhtar Mansour was planning “eminent action” against US and coalition forces inside Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Monday, describing its airstrike against the Taliban leader as “defensive” in nature.
“This was a defensive strike against an individual who was actively engaged in planning and conducting operations that were targeting US and Coalition personnel,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said during an off-camera news conference.
Davis said Mansour was “set on specific eminent action” against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Taliban leader was “engaged in real time,” he said, but refrained from giving details and the nature of the eminent threat.
“This was considered a defensive strike. (But) the location required a higher level of approval. Ultimately, this was an individual who was specifically targeting US and coalition personnel and had specifically engaged in operations in the past that resulted in US and coalition personnel being killed,” Davis said.
“No,” Davis said when asked if there was an effort to capture the insurgent leader. He added the strike was “deliberately carried out in a place which was remote” and not near other things that would have raised the risk of collateral damage. This was a US 4A mission unilateral in nature.
“We have a longstanding, ongoing dialogue with Pakistani and Afghan governments on all matters on which we have mutual interest. We have ongoing discussions about people we are targeting including this individual and we had conversations about it before and after,” he continued.
He believed the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty had not strained the bilateral relationship, saying Washington was working with Islamabad to help it focus on defensive needs, most notably in fighting the Haqqani network.
“It’s not our intent to do anything more with this strike other than to remove a person who was threating the US and coalition forces,” he maintained. The strike, he said, did not change US policy of targeting other Taliban leaders.
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