Yesterday, after the US launched a drone strike in South Waziristan that reportedly killed a Haqqani Network commander known as Abdullah Haqqani and an al Qaeda leader, the spokeswoman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack. From a transcript provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
First about the drone strike this morning, the Government of Pakistan condemns the US drone strike that took place on 0200 hours at Azam Warsak, South Waziristan on 30 October 2014. Pakistan has consistently maintained that such strikes are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Government of Pakistan is itself taking decisive action against terrorist elements and therefore believes that such strikes are unnecessary and need to be stopped.
Yesterday’s condemnation of the US campaign to kill members al Qaeda and other jihadist groups that pose a threat not just to the West, but to the Pakistani state, isn’t the first. Pakistan routinely denounces US airstrikes as “a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The Pakistani government even denounced a US strike that killed Hakeemullah Mehsud, the previous leader of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Pakistanis. [See Threat Matrix report, Pakistan condemns drone strike that killed Hakeemullah Mehsud.]
But more often, the Pakistani government gets upset about the strikes that killed members of the so-called “good Taliban,” or the Taliban that don’t openly advocate jihad against the Pakistani state. For instance, when a US drone strike killed three Haqqani Network leaders, including a top commander who is said to be a senior financier and aide to the group’s operational leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Foreign Affairs Ministry was quick to respond. [See Threat Matrix report, Pakistan ‘strongly condemns’ drone strike that killed Haqqani Network leaders.]
It doesn’t seem to matter much to the Pakistani government and military that the good Taliban, such as the Haqqani Network or those loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadar, aid, shelter, and support al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and a host of other jihadist groups. What does appear to matter to the Pakistani decision makers is that the good Taliban wage jihad in Afghanistan and serve as strategic depth against India.
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