The United States announced on Saturday that it had killed the leader of the Taliban in a drone strike. Mullah Akhtar Mansour had only been in charge of the hardline Islamic group since last year.
In reviewing the media reports surrounding the death of Mullah Mansour, however, several strange things emerge.
1. Why did the Taliban leader not have people protecting him?
Mullah Mansour was said to have been traveling in the remote Balochistan province as he was hit by the drone strike. But Reuters reported that it was “unclear…why he was apparently travelling in Pakistan without a security detail.” Typically, the head of the Taliban would have people protecting him, keeping a lookout for drones.
2. What was he doing in Iran on a fake Pakistani passport, and why doesn’t the US State Department have more information?
Media reports said that Mullah Mansour was traveling through Balochistan on his way back from a trip to Iran, where he’d been using a Pakistani passport under the name “Muhammad Wali.” What was Mansour doing in Iran? Fundraising? And why can’t the US State Department seem to get any concrete information from its supposed ally, Pakistan?
3. Why wasn’t Mullah Mansour’s name on the State Department’s designated terrorist list?
Vice News staff writer Avi Asher Schapiro tweeted on Monday that Mansour’s perhaps very, very important name was for some inscrutable reason not on the State Department’s list of designated terrorists.
Does that mean Mansour could have gotten on a plane to New York?
4. Isn’t the US supposed to have pulled out of Afghanistan two years ago?
President Obama has made a big show about “ending the war in Afghanistan,” which has gone on since 2001, much to the fatigue of American taxpayers, who have shelled out billions to fund a bloody effort that still has not uprooted the Taliban.
The US formally pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014. Googling “US War In Afghanistan” brings up Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittannica links listing the war’s dates as “2001-2014.” Yet the US still has nearly 10,000 troops stationed in the rugged Asian nation, and is clearly still carrying out drone strikes there, too.