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American Resistance To Empire

Brit Press Claims Taliban Succession Meeting Underway

Afghan Taliban meet on succession as Obama confirms leader’s death

Senior Afghan Taliban figures met on Monday to agree on a successor to Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the leader of the militant movement who U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed had been killed in an American air strike at the weekend.

The Taliban have so far made no official statement on the fate of Mansour, who assumed the leadership only last year.

But senior members have confirmed that their main shura, or leadership council, has been meeting to discuss the succession in a bid to prevent factional splits from fragmenting the movement.

Obama, on a three-day visit to Vietnam, reiterated support for the Western-backed government in Kabul and Afghan security forces, and called on the Taliban to join stalled peace talks.

The president authorized the drone strike that killed Mansour in a remote region just on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan on Saturday.

Pakistani authorities have said the drone strike was a violation of the country’s sovereignty and an official from the foreign ministry told the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad that the attack could “adversely impact” peace talks.

But reaction from Islamabad has otherwise been relatively muted and a number of questions remain over what exactly happened.

An undamaged Pakistani passport in the name of Wali Muhammad, which Pakistani authorities said contained a visa for Iran, was recovered next to the burned-out car at the scene of the attack and is believed to have belonged to Mansour.

But it is unclear what he may have been doing in Iran and why he was apparently travelling in Pakistan without a security detail.

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry was quoted on state media denying that such an individual had crossed the border from Iran to Pakistan at the time in question.

“MILESTONE”

Calling the death “an important milestone”, Obama said Mansour had rejected peace talks and had “continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and Coalition forces”.

“The Taliban should seize the opportunity to pursue the only real path for ending this long conflict – joining the Afghan government in a reconciliation process that leads to lasting peace and stability,” he said.

However, he stressed that the operation against Mansour did not represent a shift in U.S. strategy in Afghanistan or a return to active engagement in fighting, following the end of the international coalition’s main combat mission in 2014.

The U.S. currently has 9,800 troops in Afghanistan, divided between a NATO-led mission to train and advise local forces and a separate counter terrorism mission fighting militant groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda.

A decision is expected later this year on whether to stick with a timetable that would see the number of troops cut to 5,500 by the start of 2017.

CAN TALIBAN UNITE?

The Taliban, which have previously rejected overtures to join talks with President Ashraf Ghani’s government, have been pushing Afghan security forces hard since the launch of their spring offensive in April.

The attack on Mansour has thrown the movement into disarray at least temporarily, but Afghan authorities have braced for an upsurge in violence as rival candidates position themselves to succeed him.

Although some individual Taliban members have been quoted in media reports saying that Mansour was killed, the group’s leadership, keenly aware of the need to limit splits, has not issued its own confirmation.

“The leadership is being very careful because one wrong step could divide the group into many parties like former mujahideen,” one Taliban official from the eastern province of Nangarhar said, referring to guerrilla leaders who fought the Soviets in the 1980s before splitting into warring factions.

Serious divisions emerged last year when it was confirmed that Mullah Mohammad Omar, the group’s founder, had been dead for two years, leaving his deputy Mansour in effective charge of the movement and open to accusations he deceived his commanders.

One senior member of the shura, which is based in the western Pakistani city of Quetta, said that the choice for the next leader appeared to be shaping around Mansour’s deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, or a member of the family of Mullah Omar, such as his son, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob.

Haqqani, leader of an affiliated network blamed for a series of high-profile suicide attacks in Kabul, had the backing of Pakistan, while Yaqoob had support among members of the Afghan Taliban, the shura member said.

“We prefer someone from Omar’s family to put an end to all internal problems,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Samihullah Paiwand in Gardez, Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar, Rafiq Shezar in Jalalabad, Drazen Jorgic in Islamabad, Gul Yousafzai in Quetta and Syed Rasa Hassan in Karachi, Babak Dehghanpisheh in Beirut; writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Was Muhammad Wali “Mullah Mansour”?

Muhammad Wali’s NIC had cost him heavy bribe: Sources

dunya news DUNYA

Wali MuhammadMullah-Mansour MULLAH MANSOUR
Law enforcement agencies have started investigation about the matter

QUETTA (Dunya News) – Sources indicate that Muhammad Wali, who died yesterday (Sunday) as the result of an American drone strike on his car while he was travelling from Nushki to Quetta, had his name in the voter list of Chaman. However the locals claim that no one by the exact name resides in the area, reported Dunya News on Monday.

Muhammad Wali s name is present in the final voter list of the Chaman municipal committee next to serial number 38. His full name, Muhammad Wali son of Shah Muhammad, is present in the list along with his identification card number and residential address of Jadeed Abadi, Chaman, district Killa Abdullah. But his residence in Jadeed Abadi has yet not been traced as the locals state that no one by this name resides in the area.

Meanwhile, security agencies have initiated investigation regarding Muhammad Wali s National Identification Card and passport.

Wali s identification card has raised multiple questions over the performance of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). Sources have indicated that the identity card has been made after paying a heavy amount of bribe. Law enforcement agencies have started investigation about the matter.

Swarm of Suicide-Bombers Kill 100+ In Tartous and Jableh—Russian Navy Base Is In Tartous

Monitor says at least five suicide attacks and two car bombs hit Jableh and Tartous, which until now have escaped worst of conflict

Explosions in the Syrian city of Tartous.
Explosions in the Syrian city of Tartous. Photograph: SANA/Reuters

Bomb blasts have killed more than 100 people in the Syrian coastal cities of Jableh and Tartous, monitors said, in a government-controlled area that hosts Russian forces.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks in the Mediterranean cities, which have up to now escaped the worst of the conflict, saying it was targeting supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

Scores were wounded in at least five suicide attacks and two car bombs, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said – the first assaults of their kind in Tartous, where government ally Russia maintains a naval facility, and Jableh.

State media confirmed the attacks but gave a lower death toll.

Fighting has increased in other parts of Syria in recent weeks as world powers struggle to revive a threadbare ceasefire in western Syria and after peace talks in Geneva this year broke down.

State media reported that a car bomb and two suicide bombers attacked a petrol station in Tartous. In Jableh, one of the four blasts hit near a hospital, state media and the Observatory reported.

Syria map

Footage broadcast by the state-run Ikhbariya news channel of what it said were scenes of the blasts in Jableh showed several twisted and incinerated cars and minivans. Pictures circulated by pro-Damascus social media users showed dead bodies in the back of pick-up vans and charred body parts on the ground.

The Syrian Observatory said at least 53 people were killed in Jableh, and 48 in Tartous.

The interior ministry said in a statement more than 20 people had been killed, and one state media outlet put the death toll at 45 people.

Bombings in the capital Damascus and western city Homs earlier this year killed scores and were claimed by Isis, which is fighting against government forces and their allies in some areas, and separately against its jihadi rival al-Qaida and other insurgent groups.

Russia, which intervened in the Syrian war in support of Assad last September, operates an air base at Hmeymim in Latakia and a naval facility at Tartous.

Latakia city, which is north of Jableh and capital of the province that is Assad’s heartland, has been targeted on a number of occasions by bombings and insurgent rocket attacks.

Pak Press Publishes Photos of Vehicle Struck By US Drones In Balochistan

Two charred bodies found in Balochistan near Pak-Afghan border

express tribune

People stand near a vehicle which came under attack by a US drone near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on May 22, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

People stand near a vehicle which came under attack by a US drone near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on May 22, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

QUETTA: Two charred bodies and remains of a car were found late on Saturday night from a remote area near Noshki district of Balochistan, which is close to the border with Afghanistan.

“One of the bodies was identified as Azam (driver) while the other was identified as Muhammad Wali, both Pakistani residents as per the documents recovered from them,” deputy commissioner Chaghi told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

The official further said residents of the area claim they heard the sound of a blast and gunfire late on Saturday night and later found the bodies in a vehicle which was travelling on the Quetta-Taftan highway near Noshki.

Earlier, the United States claimed to have targeted Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour and another militant in a drone strike near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, which reportedly killed them.

Afghanistan’s spy agency said  Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US bombing raid, the first confirmation from regional officials of his death, which marks a potential blow to the resurgent militant movement.

“Mansour was being closely monitored for a while… until he was targeted along with other fighters aboard a vehicle,” Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security said in a statement.

American officials on Saturday said Mansour was “likely killed” in the remote Pakistani town of Ahmad Wal in Balochistan province by multiple unmanned aircraft operated by US special forces.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials told AFP the drones struck a Toyota Corolla near the city of Quetta, killing two people whose bodies were burned beyond recognition.

They did not confirm whether Mansour was among them but said the bodies had been moved to a hospital in Quetta.

A member of the Quetta Shura, the Taliban’s leadership council, told AFP that Mansour had been unreachable on his mobile phone since Saturday night.

“We are not sure if something is really wrong or he purposely switched off his phone fearing an attack,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In December, Mansour was reportedly wounded and possibly killed in a shootout at the house of another insurgent leader near Quetta. The Taliban eventually released an audio recording, purportedly from Mansour, to dispel the reports.

A US intelligence analyst said Mansour had been in a power struggle with Mullah Mohammad Rasoul, whose deputy, Mullah Dadullah, was killed late last year in what officials think was a fight with Mansour’s more hard-line faction.