Pakistan protests US airstrike on Mansour as ‘a violation of sovereignty’

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a formal statement protesting the US drone strike that killed Taliban emir Mullah Mansour in Baluchistan province on May 21 as “a violation of its sovereignty,” and claimed that the prime minister and army chief of staff were only notified after the fact. Pakistan has officially protested some US drone strikes in the past, typically when a so-called “good Taliban” leader is targeted.

The statement, reproduced in full below, was released on May 22 on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Pakistan’s condemnation of the airstrike that targeted Mansour is not without precedence. The government has issued numerous protests in the past. These public statements have been issued when the US targets members of the Taliban or other groups which are supported by powerful and influential elements of Pakistan’s military, Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, and government. These groups, such as the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group, and the Mullah Nazir Group, are referred to in Pakistani circles as the “good Taliban,” as they do not advocate attacking the Pakistani state. However they do support jihadist groups that wage war on the government (also known as the “bad Taliban”) and shelter foreign terrorist groups such as al Qaeda. The so-called good Taliban also support and wage jihad in Afghanistan and India. [See Threat Matrix reports, Pakistan condemns drone strike that targeted ‘good Taliban, and Good Taliban are not our problem, adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister says.]

The Pakistani government sometimes even condemns US airstrikes in which al Qaeda leaders were killed. For instance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs objected to an Oct. 30, 2014 drone strike in South Waziristan that killed “Adil,” an Arab al Qaeda commander. Adil was killed alongside a Haqqani Network commander known as Abdullah Haqqani, who ran suicide bomber cells in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has even condemned drone strikes that targeted the bad Taliban, such as the Nov. 1, 2013 attack that killed Hakeemullah Mehsud, the previous emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Hakeemullah was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Pakistanis and waged a brutal insurgency against the government. Taliban fighters under his command have launched suicide attacks and assaults in mosques, shrines, hospitals, markets, hotels, police stations, and military bases.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement: Reported death of a Taliban leader in a drone strike

On late Saturday 21st May, 2016, the United States shared information that a drone strike was carried out in Pakistan near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area, in which reportedly the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhter Mansoor was targeted. This information was shared with the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff after the drone strike.

According to the information gathered so far, a person named Wali Muhammad S/o Shah Muhammad carrying a Pakistani passport and an I.D. Card, resident of Qilla Abdullah, entered Pakistan from Taftan border on 21st May. His passport was bearing a valid Iranian visa. He was traveling on a vehicle hired from a transport company in Taftan. This vehicle was found destroyed at Kochaki along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The driver’s name was Muhammad Azam whose body has been identified and collected by his relatives. The identity of the second body is being verified on the basis of evidence found at the site of the incident and other relevant information.

While further investigations are being carried out, Pakistan wishes to once again state that the drone attack was a violation of its sovereignty, an issue which has been raised with the United States in the past as well.

It may be recalled that the fifth meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) held on 18th May had reiterated that a politically negotiated settlement was the only viable option for lasting peace in Afghanistan and called upon the Taliban to give up violence and join peace talks.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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14 Comments

  • Paddy Singh says:

    What is so special about Pakistan’s sovereignty, that is if it has any? They, the people, the army etc should be happy that a wanted Taliban who has been responsible for thousands of Pakistani deaths, has been obliterated. If the general public are up in arms, despite being targets of the Taliban, there is cause for them to be worried

    • Jo says:

      First, it’s a question of sovereignity. Every nation has it and every nation wants to keep it. I am quite sure Americans wouldn’t be to happy if some nation started to unilateraly bomb targets on US soil. I am actually quite sure that this would be deemed a declaration of war and crime against a multitude of international laws.

      Second, the ISI and pakistani military helped create the taliban and use them for their own purposes, which is made a bit more difficult when leaders are killed and replaced by more and more unruly leaders. It tends to happen when you strike the heads of such groups, the group doesn’t go away and the leadership becomes more and more unknown and unpredictable.

  • ScienceABC123 says:

    Pakistan is supposedly our ally. Yet their government condemns us when we kill al Qaeda leaders that are trying to kill us. Are we really sure that Pakistan is our ally???

    • Paddy Singh says:

      Pakistan is a failed state, it is a terrorist state. The only way out is for the terrorists to be killed wherever they are in that country and fortunately only America has the guts to do it, despite its many faults which include the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Anurag says:

      Are you sure they are your allies coz ISI foot prints are found from Sep\11 funding to the bombing of CIA’s base in Afghanistan to poisoning of your CIA station chief in Pakistan. Just to state a few examples:
      I am sure that you must have heard of certain Mr OBL being found living cosily near Paki Military cantonment all those years while he was planning and executing attacks in your country. Right?
      Ever heard of Faisal Shahzad….the guy who tried to bomb Times Square in 2010? His father was Air Vice-Marshal (the equivalent of a two-star general) with Paki Air Force. He is deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan.
      Heard of Daood Sayed Gilani Aka David Coleman Headley…the guy behind Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008… where they picked and killed Americans? Guess what…his father was a Paki Diplomat & his brother was spokesman for Pakistani Prime Minister.
      Then u take Omar Sheikh, Aafia Siddiqui, Farooque Ahmed, etc…the list is as long as one has time…and they all are linked to the paki establishment – ISI, military, government.
      So if your govt tells you they are your allies…u must laugh and ask them to stop being deceitful!!

  • Alan Hawk says:

    Allowing the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group, and the Mullah Nazir Group, (AKA the “good Taliban”) to operate in Pakistan is a violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty. They can’t have it both ways.

    • Jo says:

      I don’t think you fully appreciate how this sovereignity-thing works? Supporting enemies of other countries outside of their territory is a lot of things, but not really a negation of that countries sovereignity. However, using your military/police in another country without a state of war or bilateral agreement with the host-country, well that plays into the whole sovereignity-thingy.

  • Jean says:

    Why now? Didn’t this guy maintain an open/ public presence? For years, the COF ignored the Taliban leadership in Quetta.

  • Moose says:

    In the book Charlie Wilson’s War, author George Crile writes that right before the Geneva Accords took effect in 1988, the Soviets sent Pakistan a present. They sabotaged the muj’s main cache of weapons in Islamabad, tens of millions of dollars of CIA supplied arms, and caused an explosion that killed over a hundred people and wounded a thousand. According to Crile, explosions occurred in Islamabad for two days as a result of the attack.

    Now that we don’t need these two-faced Pakistanis, and after they killed and maimed thousands of our troops, let’s send them a few presents of our own. Let’s do it all in Islamabad, lol.

  • Shawn says:

    Pakistan has been an ally of the US. So, when there military activity with the exception of bin laden, its usually done with the authorization of the Pakistani military.

    Its the Pakistani military that is the ultimate authority in Pakistani society. No government can exsist without the military approval. Besides the civilian government in Pakistan has no control of its military. Pakistan has had numerous coups over its military. If a civilian government comes into office and its military does not like them, out comes the tanks. Military generals takes over. Its Inter Services Intel agency is known to back up the Taliban in Afghanistan and insurgent attacks on India.

    A US Senator recently called Pakistan, “FRENEMY”. Sometimes their your friend and sometimes their your enemy.

    Besides a report came out that this assassination was authorized from the President. I dont think the President was too concerned about the Pakistani reactions anyway.

  • Great Satan says:

    Perhaps it’s time to direct drone strikes against influential elements of Pakistan’s military, Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, and government.

  • Anurag says:

    I think we are missing the main news here. The real news is that it gives the world a peek into enormous progress the paki govt has made in creating extremely robust and high quality material that they use to produce their national documents (passport & id cards). USA and other so called technologically advanced countries must get their act together and work towards catching up with this advanced paki technology.
    It was exhilarating to hear that remarkably paki passports and id cards belonging to the two deceased were recovered from the debris. And fantastically all documents were found in spotless condition. WOW!

  • TRM says:

    If you can’t/won’t control what happens on your territory, don’t complain when other people do something about it.

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