Did Killing Mullah Mansour Work?

This blog post was coauthored with my research associate, Jennifer Wilson

When governments use military force outside of their sovereign territory, they generally provide some political justification for doing so. In modern times, aggressor states no longer defend their attacks on the grounds of merely punishment or revenge. Rather, they offer a range of justifications and intended political objectives, which are distilled to two: deterrence, with the goal of preventing an adversary from undertaking some behavior; or compellence, to stop an adversary from continuing an ongoing behavior.

One year ago, then-President Barack Obama authorized a U.S. military drone strike that killed Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in a remote area of Pakistan. The strike was unusual both in that it was acknowledged by the Pentagon (and thus not a covert CIA attack), and where it was conducted, Balochistan—where no known previous military or CIA strikes had occurred.

At the time of

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