Mansour was carrying fake Pakistani passport: US

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Washington, May 25: Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, killed in a US drone strike in Balochistan, was carrying a fake Pakistani passport, the Obama Administration said today as it asserted that Pakistan needs to do more to root out terrorists using its soil to find refuge.

"He (Mullah Mansour) was carrying a fake Pakistani passport," the State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said at his daily news conference, responding to media reports that Taliban chief used a Pakistani passport for his visits abroad for over nine years.

mansour

On the reports that he frequently travelled between Karachi and Dubai, and Iran via the Pakistani border town of Taftan, Toner said the US does not have any clarity on his reported visits to Iran.

"You know, our major concern is that a major threat to our military on the ground in Afghanistan has been removed from the battlefield," he said.

The senior Obama Administration official, however, did not respond to questions on trust with Pakistan and the charges of the Pakistani officials that they were informed about the airstrike against Mansour some seven hours after the attack.

"We have been very clear eyed and very clear in our interaction with Pakistan, where we believe that they need to do more to root out terrorists who find safe haven in some of their territory and we're going to continue to do that," he said.

The US, he argued, would not get into the operational details of the strike against Mansour, "except to say that these are very narrow windows in any case."

"It is not just with friends and allies or partners or whoever, but in any of these instances it's absolutely vital to keep operational security," he argued.

Responding to a question, Toner said the US has conveyed to the Pakistani government and authorities before that they need to pursue actively terrorist organisations that are using their soil, their territory to find refuge.

"We've also said before that Pakistan is a country that, unfortunately, knows the effects of terrorism, the tragedy of terrorism. It's suffered multiple terrorist attacks, mass casualty terrorist attacks. So it understands the stakes here," he added.

"But we're going to continue to work with the Pakistani authorities and a full faith effort, both to give them the tools they need and the capabilities they need to confront this threat and we're going to also continue to, as we share intelligence and other information with them, to point out that we believe that terrorists are finding safe haven," Toner said. Mansour was coming to Quetta from Taftan, Balochistan, when his car came under the drone attack, killing him and his driver.

A passport and a computerised national identity card found near the burnt car bore the name of Muhammad Wali.

While Pakistan has not officially stated that the person killed in the drone strike was Mansour, US President Barack Obama has confirmed that the man killed was the Taliban supremo, believed to be in his early 50s.

PTI 

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