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Pentagon: Slain Taliban Leader Was Threat To U.S. Troops

A car is seen on fire at the site of a drone strike believed to have killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akthar Mansur in southwest Pakistan, May 21.

The Pentagon has said U.S. forces killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur in a drone strike on May 21 because he posed "specific, imminent threats" to U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said on May 23 that the drone attack against Mansur in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan was carried out under U.S. rules of engagement that allow U.S. forces to conduct defensive strikes against people engaged in activity threatening U.S. and coalition personnel.

Davis told reporters it was the first time he was aware of that the U.S. military had conducted an attack inside Pakistan under the Pentagon's rules of engagement governing defensive strikes.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry criticized the attack as a violation of its sovereignty, saying the United States did not inform Islamabad before conducting the strike.

Earlier, President Barack Obama hailed Mansur's death as an "important milestone" in efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP