NAYPYITAW - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour posed a “continuing imminent threat” to US personnel in Afghanistan and to Afghans, and was a threat to peace.

Kerry suggested that the US attack would not derail Afghan peace talks, because Mansour had been opposed to any such negotiations. “He was directly opposed to the peace process,” he added.

“Yesterday, the United States conducted a precision airstrike that targeted Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in a remote area of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Mansour posed a continuing, imminent threat” to US personnel and Afghans, Kerry told a news conference in the Myanmar capital.

“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, united, secure and prosperous Afghanistan.”

Kerry said the leaders of both Pakistan and Afghanistan were notified of the airstrike but he declined to elaborate on the timing of the notifications, which he said included a telephone call from him to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“Peace is what we want. Mansour was a threat to that effort and to bringing an end to the violence and suffering people of Afghanistan have endured for so many years now. He was also directly opposed to the peace negotiation and to the reconciliation process,” Kerry said.

AFP adds: “Both the Pakistanis and the Afghans were notified shortly after the strike,” a senior White House official said.