Taliban Leader Assassinated for Secret Ties with Tehran

President Barack Obama authorized the multiple drone attack which killed the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, on Saturday, May 21 in the remote Baluchistan area of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the strike destroyed a car carrying two people, and that the passport of a Pakistani citizen named Wali Muhammad, with a valid Iranian visa, was found at the scene. One of the bodies was identified as a local taxi driver but the other was not identified. The passenger was said to have returned from Iran on the day of the attack.
Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, however, said it was certain that Mansour was dead.
DEBKA Weekly’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources report that the incident marked the second US assassination of a pro-Iranian figure in ten days. On May 12, also by Obama's order, Mustafa Badr Al-Din, the commander of Hizballah forces in Syria, was killed near Damascus by a US missile fired from the ground. (Please refer to “How the US and Jordan Took Out Mustafa Badr Al-Din” in issue 710, published May 20)
Our sources report that according to US intelligence reports, Iran is secretly recruiting and training Taliban fighters as well as expanding its military and financial assistance to the terrorist organization. These moves are aimed at driving ISIS from Taliban territory in Afghanistan and countering Washington’s influence, the sources said.
Ties have been deepening between Iran and the Taliban for a year. In the middle of May, a Taliban delegation from its political bureau in Qatar visited Tehran for talks with government officials. Both Shiite Iran and the radical Sunni organization have common views on some regional issues, such as concern over the spread of Islamic State, although Iran is locked in proxy wars with several Sunni states and groups.
Although Tehran may support a Taliban reconciliation with Kabul and the participation of Taliban members in the government, it seems unlikely to back a return to power by the terrorist organization, our sources said.

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