US didn’t notify Pakistan until after deadly strike

Published: May 23, 2016
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PM Nawaz confirms he received a phone call from US Secretary John Kerry at 10pm on Saturday regarding the drone strike. PHOTO: REUTERS

PM Nawaz confirms he received a phone call from US Secretary John Kerry at 10pm on Saturday regarding the drone strike. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: While denouncing the US drone strike that reportedly killed Afghan Taliban chief, Pakistan on Sunday stopped short of officially confirming the death of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor on its soil as it was collecting evidence to verify the claims by Washington and Kabul.

It took the government a whole day to come up with a response after US officials and Afghan government confirmed Mansoor was killed in a drone strike in Balochistan.

Who will succeed Mullah Mansoor? 

In a statement issued following the meeting chaired by Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, the Foreign Office confirmed that late Saturday night the United States shared information with Pakistan about the drone strike that reportedly killed the Taliban leader.

“This information was shared with the prime minister and the chief of army staff after the drone strike,” the statement added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also confirmed he received a telephone call from US Secretary John Kerry at 10pm on Saturday regarding the drone strike. The premier told reporters in London that Pakistan was verifying reports whether Mullah Mansoor was killed in the drone strike.

A Foreign Office statement said that according to the information gathered so far, a person named Wali Muhammad, s/o Shah Muhammad carrying a Pakistani passport and ID card, resident of Killa Abdullah, entered Pakistan from Taftan border on May 21.

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His passport was bearing a valid Iranian visa. He was traveling on a vehicle hired from a transport company in Taftan, the statement said.

This vehicle was found destroyed at Kochaki along the Pak-Afghan 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,” according to the Foreign Office.

It said Pakistan wished to once again state that the drone attack was violation of its sovereignty, an issue which had been raised with the United States in the past as well.

The statement also recalled that the recent meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group 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.

This is the first time the United States has carried out a drone strike beyond the tribal areas. Pakistan routinely condemned the drone strikes as violation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

US playing ‘double game’

While the Foreign Office statement did not confirm the death of Mansoor, security sources told The Express Tribune that the man killed in the drone strike ‘resembles’ with the Taliban leader.  “He [Mullah Mansoor] is probably gone, but we need to cross-check more facts before official confirmation,” a security source revealed.

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Background interviews with officials suggested that Pakistan was furious over the US decision to take out Mullah Mansoor.  “Would the Taliban now ever come to the negotiating table after this incident,” asked the official.

He claimed that the United States ‘deceived’ Pakistan, as according to him, there was an understanding among the countries involved in the peace process that Taliban leaders, including Mullah Mansoor, were allowed to travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The US was telling us they will not target Taliban leaders while efforts are on to bring them to the negotiating table,” the official added.

When asked, he admitted that four-nation initiative to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table was all but over. “This incident will have far reaching implications,” the official cautioned saying Pakistan was assessing the situation to evolve its strategy accordingly.

Another official, who was also shell-shocked about the American ‘unilateral’ action, told The Express Tribune that the drone attack targeting Mullah Mansoor was contrary to the decision taken at a recent QCG meeting.  “They [United States] could not succeed with all its military might in Afghanistan for the last 15 years but ironically they were expecting the result of the reconciliation process overnight,” the official said.  “They should have been more patient as peace efforts were just few months old,” the official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Haji Atiya
    May 23, 2016 - 8:36AM

    And Panama did not notify Nawaz Sharif until after the leak ! So what ? Same old story, no one knows nothing ! Of course, they’re all complicit, Musharraf, Kayani, Zardari and now Mr Metro.Recommend

  • IndianDude
    May 23, 2016 - 8:52AM

    ..US didn’t notify Pakistan until after deadly strike..

    Just like other US operation that killed another Pakistani asset in Abbottabad.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 23, 2016 - 9:05AM

    No need to notify in future too. There are Taliban supporters everywhere. Recommend

  • Ahmed
    May 23, 2016 - 9:39AM

    Who cares… whats important is why the Taliban leader was in PK despite a large scale operation?! 2 Taliban leaders found and killed in PK – i am military supporter but am ashamed of both military and civilian LEAsRecommend

  • Sam
    May 23, 2016 - 9:48AM

    Why he was not taken out in Iran? If his identity was already known.

    Seems Iran has more value to US then Pakistan. Recommend

  • Kickass
    May 23, 2016 - 10:24AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    You are sick. Pakistani territory was attacked by another country and you take it like Nawaz did? In other words Nawaz of PMLN is party to this violation of international law and criminal violation but your loader is in Panamaleak syndrome. PML N must be removed from politics of Pakistan. They “sleep with the enemy”.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    May 23, 2016 - 11:03AM

    Possibly because telling Pakistan ahead of time would be like telling the Taliban, as has happened before!Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    May 23, 2016 - 12:53PM

    @Ahmed:
    Who cares… whats important is why the Taliban leader was in PK despite a large scale operation?

    Because the Americans asked Pakistan to negotiate with the guy for reconciliation with the Afghan Government!

    Comprendo? If yes, then you know how the yankees operate

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Tp
    May 23, 2016 - 1:23PM

    How come Mansoor was found in Baluchistan?? Who was harboring him? Some people never learn!Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    May 23, 2016 - 2:01PM

    I think Donald Trump will do a world of good for Pak. Uncle Sams interference in their affairs will take a back seat. Many countries can get on with their lives sans Uncle Sam.Recommend

  • Rhea
    May 23, 2016 - 2:49PM

    wow wow. how dare anybody take the great Nuclear power called Pakistan for granted? Pakistan should quickly retaliate. Recommend

  • Jameel ur Rasheed
    May 23, 2016 - 2:55PM

    As usual SHO of the area would be suspended for not knowing that a top-notch taliban guy was passing through his territories.Recommend

  • Aparna
    May 23, 2016 - 3:21PM

    Of course Pakistan was not notified !Recommend

  • Ashraf P
    May 23, 2016 - 3:23PM

    Now I have serious doubts about Zarb-e-Azb now. I don’t think Pakistan can change.Recommend

  • Kushal
    May 23, 2016 - 3:24PM

    Isn’t supposed to.Recommend

  • Menon
    May 23, 2016 - 3:43PM

    One has to be the biggest fool on the planet to notify Pakistan, KNOWN TERRORIST SUPPORTER!!Recommend

  • someone
    May 23, 2016 - 5:31PM

    Question is, if Pakistan was not notified then how come PAF did not respond? Didn’t they detect the drone in Pakistani air space? Recommend

  • Shahid
    May 23, 2016 - 7:56PM

    Such drone strikes must be condemned which are in disregard of our territorial sovereignty and international law. These activities also generate distrust among the local people. The issues of mutual interest and regional security situation should be resolved in cooperative manner to enhance intelligence sharing and trust between the U.S. and Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rabia
    May 24, 2016 - 8:56AM

    Pakistan does not consent to the use of drones by the United States on its territory and it considers this to be a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a matter of international law, the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan is … being conducted without the consent of the elected representatives of the people or the legitimate government of the state. Recommend

  • BlackHat
    May 25, 2016 - 1:13AM

    US didn’t notify Pakistan until after deadly strike. But Pakistan notified the US the whereabouts of the Mullah before the deadly strike. Shhhhh…. Anyone know where Siraj is at?

    First US drone strike in Balochistan. A lone, rented vehicle driving along a remote region. An unidentified driver and a passenger in disguise, with a fake legitimate green passport. May be a chaiwallah along the way called Obama.Recommend

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