ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday denounced the US drone strike believed to have killed the Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour as a violation of its air space and said only negotiations could bring a lasting peace to Afghanistan.
The statement, issued by the Foreign Office late Sunday, said one of the victims of the attack was a driver named Muhammad Azam while the identity of the second "is being verified".
"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 Mansour was targeted, it said.
Man believed to be Taliban leader had returned from Iran
"This information was shared with the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff after the drone strike."
The statement denounced the drone attack as a "violation of [Pakistan's] sovereignty, an issue which has been raised with the United States in the past as well."
It said that a four-country group comprising the United States, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan last met on Wednesday to discuss ways to restart stalled peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban and that the group had collectively decided "a politically negotiated settlement was the only viable option for lasting peace in Afghanistan".
‘No confirmation yet’
“It has not been ascertained if Mullah Akhtar was killed in the drone strike last night,” PM Nawaz Sharif said while talking to media after his arrival in London on Sunday.
The US Secretary of State John Kerry informed me about the attack via telephone, he added.
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