Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has criticized the U.S drone strike that reportedly killed the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, saying that the attack was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Pakistan’s Dawn news reported that Sharif said a strong protest in this regard had been lodged with the U.S.
In a statement issued late Sunday by the Pakistan Foreign Office, Islamabad said: “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.”
According to the statement, “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 Mansour was targeted. This information was shared with the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff after the drone strike.”
The U.S reportedly carried out a drone strike against a vehicle Mansour was thought to be traveling in, in the Dalbandin area of Baluchistan.
Pakistan confirms this vehicle was destroyed and that two adult males were killed. One is believed to have been the driver and the other, Mansour, who was reportedly carrying a Pakistani passport and I.D card in the name of Wali Muhammad.
Pakistan’s statement said: “According to 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 (with Iran) 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.”
In conclusion, the statement read: “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.”