US President Barack Obama confirmed on Monday that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor had been killed by a US drone strike in Pakistan on the weekend.
“Today marks an important milestone in our longstanding effort to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan,” Obama said.
“With the death of Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, we have removed the leader of an organization that has continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and coalition forces, to wage war against the Afghan people, and align itself with extremist groups like al-Qaeda,” he said.
Obama urged the Taliban to engage in peace talks as the only path "that leads to lasting peace and stability.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Mansoor's death created an opportunity for progress towards peace in Afghanistan.
Mansoor's actions had led “to the death and suffering of countless Afghan civilians and security forces," he said in a statement.
Mansoor died in US drone strike on his car near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the Pakistani region of Baluchistan on Saturday, US and Afghan officials confirmed.
The Taliban denied that Mansoor was killed, but have not issued a statement since Sunday.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said Mansoor's death was "a big blow to the Taliban," and it would improve the country's security situation.
Mansoor assumed the Taliban leadership in August, after the announcement of the death of movement founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.