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Tue, Nov

John Kerry Says Deadly Drone Strike Sends 'Clear Message'

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John-KerryU.S Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the targeting of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike sends a clear message over the United States' commitment to Afghanistan.

Speaking at a news conference with Myanmar's Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, during his visit to that country, Kerry said: "Yesterday, the Unites States conducted a precision airstrike that targeted Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in a remote area of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region."

He said: "Mansour posed a continuing, imminent threat to U.S personnel in Afghanistan, to Afghan civilians, Afghan security forces and Resolute Support coalition members across the country. And this action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners as they look to build a more stable, united, secure and prosperous Afghanistan."

"The United States has long maintained that an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process is the shortest way to achieve peace and peace is what we want. Mansour was a threat to that effort and to bringing an end to the violence," he said.

Kerry earlier on Sunday said he notified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by telephone of a U.S drone strike that 'likely killed' Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour.

The Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) confirmed early Sunday afternoon that Mansour had been killed in the attack.

However, a senior Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that although Afghanistan had known about the planned attack, Pakistan had not been informed.

Pakistan media reports appeared to concur and by mid-day Sunday indicated that Pakistan had not known about the planned attack.

Dawn News said Pakistan was "seeking clarification" about the drone strike against the Afghan Taliban leader.

Quoting Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria, Dawn News reported Zakaria confirmed having "seen the reports," but said Islamabad was "seeking clarification".

He reportedly said in a statement that Pakistan wanted the Taliban to return to the negotiating table to end the long war in Afghanistan.

"Military action is not a solution," he added.

On Saturday, the U.S conducted the air strike ordered by U.S President Barack Obama, against a vehicle believed to be carrying Mansour.

The incident took place in the remote border area of Baluchistan in Pakistan.