Mystery shrouds death of Afghan Taliban chief
‘PM and COAS were informed after the drone strike’
Islamabad—Mystery surrounds about the true location of the death of Mullah Mansour in a US drone attack as the Afghan leaders are saying the Afghan Taliban chief was killed in Pakistan while Pakistani authorities are still seeking clarification in this regard.
According to the Afghan government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a United States drone strike in Pakistan.
“Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour was killed in a drone strike in Quetta, Pakistan, at 04:30 pm yesterday. His car was attacked in Dahl Bandin,” Abdullah said in a tweet, referring to a district in Balochistan just over the border with Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier on Sunday said that he had notified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by telephone of a US drone strike that ‘likely killed’ Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour.
Afghan leadership was also apprised of the air strike ordered by US President Barack Obama, Kerry said, declining to elaborate on the timing of the notifications. It is worth mentioning that the US drone had targeted areas both in Pakistan and Afghanistan and it is not clear yet whether the Taliban chief was killed on the Pakistani or Afghan side of the border.
According to the foreign office, on late Saturday, the United States shared information that a drone strike was carried out in Pakistan near the Pak-Afghan border area in which reportedly the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was targeted. The information was shared with the Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff after the strike.
According to the information gathered so far, a person named Wali Muhammad s/o Shah Muhammad carrying a Pakistani passport and an ID Card, resident of Qilla Abdullah, entered Pakistan from Taftan border on 21st May. His passport was bearing a valid Iranian visa. He was travelling on a vehicle hired from a transport company in Taftan. This vehicle was found destroyed at Noshki along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The drivers 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.
According to foreign office, 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 5th 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.
It is also worth mentioning that it is the first US drone attack on the soil of Balochistan and officials at the foreign office see it as another effort to sabotage the Afghan peace process. According to sources, it was decided at the recently concluded QCG meeting to gear up efforts to bring the Taliban back to the table of negotiations which were earlier stalled due to the death of Taliban Chief Mullah Omar.
Sources say that the timing of the drone attack in which the Mullah Mansour has either been killed in Afghanistan or Pakistan is very important as it has been carried out at a time when hectic efforts were being made especially from Pakistani side to bring the Taliban to the table of negotiations. The sources said there are certain elements who do not want the peace process to move forward and there is little expectation that the Taliban will return to negotiations in the future.