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.
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