Three days after Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in Balochistan province of Pakistan, a state of confusion has been created in the militant group due to leadership vacuum, said Afghan political experts.
Mansour was killed in the Pakistani town of Ahmad Wal in a US drone strike on Saturday, confirmed the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) and US President Barack Obama, Xinhua news agency reported.
The news of Mansour’s death has been widely hailed by Afghans as a “major blow” to the militant group, which according to political observers will help further facilitate the government’s “carrot and stick” policy and push for peace and war simultaneously.
According to Afghan political and military experts, the elimination of Mansour, amid the ongoing Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, would knock the wind out of the Taliban and eventually weaken its war machine and its capability on the battleground.
“The sudden death of Mansour at this critical stage in Afghanistan where his fighters are fighting tooth and nail to gain power could put the Taliban in a state of confusion and create a leadership vacuum,” said General Atiqullah Amarkhil, an analyst close to the situation.
Taliban militants would further be divided into several more groups in the wake of Mansour’s death, the analyst predicted.
The death of Taliban founder Mullah Omar had divided the armed outfit into two factions led by Mansour and his rival Mullah Mohammad Rasoul respectively, the analyst argued.
Mansour’s death will lead to the further fragmentation within the already divided group, he explained.
“Not having a leader would eventually demoralise Taliban fighters,” Amarkhil maintained, adding that government forces would now be presented with the opportunity to mount more pressure on the insurgents to shrink Taliban-held territory.
“It is a good chance for the government to exploit the situation in Afghanistan arising out of the leader’s death, while keeping up military pressure on the Taliban fighters, also encourage them to sit at the negotiating table,” Amarkhil said.