Mullah Ahktar Mansour, elected leader of the Taliban in 2015, was reportedly killed May 21st, 2016. The kill happened in Balochistan, Pakistan, and was executed via drone strike. John Kerry, current US Secretary of State, said Mansour was a “continuing, imminent threat to US personnel.” and that “This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners as they work to build a more stable, unified, secure and prosperous Afghanistan.” Pakistan, however, has voiced concerns of its sovereignty being violated by this drone strike, and claims have arisen that the ID of Mansour had yet to be confirmed. With this concern, the question suddenly becomes “was this a violation, or a victory?” and the answer might unfortunately manifest better as a combination of the two, though the degree of both still remains in question.
Objectively, if Mansour has been eliminated, the Taliban may face leadership changes or restructurings. But does the attack remain justified? If the ID has not yet been confirmed, is the chance that the casualty is not the target something to keep the opportunity from being seized? It remains impossible to say, but these are the types of questions and variables many will be watching in the near future. In due time, it may become clear whether this strike ends as a victory for the world, a necessary evil act, or an overt tragedy. Until then, we can’t quite be sure.