The Pakistanis were part of the plan to execute OBL from the beginning. They didn't want to lose the financing their country receives from U.S. taxpayers. This leads one to believe that the Pakistanis once again were in the know. The reason given for Mullah Mansour's elimination is that he was not cooperating in peace talks with China, the U.S., Pakistan and the Ghani government; that he had turned into nothing more than a narcotics kingpin, a mafia don, the duties of war chief being handled by Sirajuddin Haqqani, a wholly-owned asset of Pakistan's Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Possibly.
As Mujib Mashal points out in his frontpager today, "Taliban Chief Targeted by Drone Strike in Pakistan, Signaling a U.S. Shift," one U.S. accomplishment in eliminating Mullah Mansour is it creates a contentious succession struggle among Taliban leadership:
One leading candidate would be Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of Mullah Mansour’s most feared deputies, who has largely been running battlefield operations in recent months. While closely linked to Pakistan’s spy agency, Mr. Haqqani would struggle to gain the support of the wider Taliban as his small but lethal network has only in recent months fully integrated into the larger insurgency.An illuminating way to understand the demise of Mullah Mansour is the desperate situation of the American project in Afghanistan. Pro-government militias are battling one another in the north, while in the south police are defecting to the Taliban. Protests roil Kabul. Cutting the opposing king's head off is an effective way to buy yourself some time.
The best thing I read over the weekend, the best thing I have read in a while, is the interview of Stathis Kouvelakis, "What’s Next for Nuit Debout?," that appears on the Jacobin web site. It is long, but it is worth the slog. Kouvelakis shares many keen insights. One that I thought was particularly acute was his discussion of "Bonapartism without Bonaparte." The political parties in the West -- France, Austria, Britain, Greece, Spain, the United States -- have become so hollowed out that now the media fulfills the classic function of the political party:
The concept of authoritarian statism also adds something, here, in that it places emphasis on the material transformations of state apparatuses, and not only the development of superstructures, the crisis of political representation, and the manner of its resolution. The media apparatus in part fulfills not only the role of spreading the dominant discourse, but also the role of reorganizing the political terrain. That is something the classic parties of the dominant classes are no longer able to do, given that they are extremely weakened and discredited.
We clearly see this in Latin American countries where the media are truly the political nerve center of the dominant power bloc — much more so than the greatly weakened bourgeois political parties — and also in Italy with Berlusconi. Yet this is also true of France, with Sarkozyism and with what’s now happening as oligarchs with a multiplicity of ties to the state and political personnel take control of the most important media.This has certainly been the case with the 2016 U.S. presidential primaries. The Gray Lady has carried Hillary's corpse on her back throughout the primary; and prior to his dropping out, she did the same for Marco Rubio.