Pakistan today confirmed the death of Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US drone strike in the country while travelling under false name and with a fake Pakistani identity document. Mansour was targeted by drones operated by US special forces in Balochistan’s Noshki district on May 21 when he headed towards Quetta in a rented car.
“All indicators confirm that the person killed in the drone strike was Mullah Akhter Mansour who was travelling on a fake identity. The DNA test result will be available shortly,” said advisor to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz at a briefing. He also said that the drone action was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty as well as breach of the principles of the UN Charter governing the conduct of the states.
“We have conveyed our serious concern to the United States on this issue,” Aziz said.
His comments came after Afghan Taliban yesterday announced Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new chief. Aziz said that the death of Mansour has added to the “complexity of the Afghan conflict”. “We believe that this action has undermined the Afghan peace process,” he said. He said that day before the attack, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China had agreed in a meeting on May 18 that politically negotiated settlement was the most viable option.
“This understanding has not been respected,” he said. “Earlier in July 2015, peace talks were scuttled at a key stage when the issue of reduction in violence was to be discussed and in less than a year, peace process has been scuttled twice,” he said. “In our view there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The use of force for past 15 years has failed to deliver peace,” he said.
He said this approach will further destabilise Afghanistan, which will have negative implications for the region, especially due to the presence of large number of terrorist groups in the war-torn country. Aziz said that Pakistan believes that politically negotiated settlement remains the most viable option for bringing lasting peace to Afghanistan as the military approach has been tried for 15 years and could not achieve the objective.